Rangers turned down Ducks trade for Frank Vatrano, Adam Henrique due to ‘high asking price’: report

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Pittsburgh Penguins
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Vatrano could still join the New York Rangers before the NHL trade deadline Friday. But a larger deal involving him and center Adam Henrique coming to Broadway was squashed by the Rangers last week, according to ESPN’S Emily Kaplan.

In her report Thursday, Kaplan stated that the Anaheim Ducks offered Vatrano and Henrique to the Rangers for a first-round draft pick and forward Kaapo Kakko.

“The Rangers clearly thought that was too rich for their liking,” Kaplan reported.

It had long been speculated here that the Rangers would try and do a one-stop shop ahead of the deadline with the Ducks. New York’s two biggest needs have been a top-line right wing and a third-line center. Vatran, a right wing, and Henrique, a center, arguably, were among the best available options at those positions.

The Rangers filled their need at center Wednesday, acquiring Alex Wennberg from the Seattle Kraken for a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2026. That happened shortly after the Ducks packaged Henrique and center Sam Carrick in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers that did bring back a first-round pick.

Rangers considering trades for Frank Vatrano, Jake Guentzel, others ahead of deadline

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

With the clock clicking toward the 3 p.m. ET deadline Friday, the Rangers remain engaged with the Ducks on Vatrano. However, the asking price is high, especially since the former Rangers forward has another season after this left on his contract at an affordable $3.65 million salary cap hit.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported Wednesday night that the Ducks could decide to keep Vatrano, who has an NHL career-high 29 goals this season, and sign him to a contract extension this summer.

There are other options on the market for the Rangers to consider. According to multiple reports, the Rangers are in on Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel, a two-time Stanley Cup winner. Anthony Duclair, who’s on a tear with the San Jose Sharks, could be a reunion option. 

Jason Zucker has been held out of the Arizona Coyotes lineup recently, so the wing will be moved before the deadline. Though he’s having a down season, Zucker did score 27 goals with the Penguins in 2022-23.

And St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said he’s willing to “get creative” in a possible Pavel Buchnevich trade. That would likely mean taking on half of Buchnevich’s contract for the rest of this season and all of next to knock his cap hit to $2.9 million for an interested team.

But there are numerous hurdles with such a potential deal involving the former Blueshirts forward.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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