Rangers’ brass in attendance for Ducks-Islanders, blockbuster trade imminent?

During last night’s Ducks-Islanders game at the Barclays Center, Isles beat writer Arthur Staple dropped this little nugget:


So, what does it mean? It confirms that the Rangers and the Ducks are talking shop, that the trade winds are blowing. There are some irregularities with this report, though.

For one, NYR Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark is not usually subject to scouting assignments. Organizations generally have teams of scouts that make trips across the league for player evaluations. The fact that the assistant GM, former Blueshirt’s captain Chris Drury, was also in attendance should tell us everything we need to know.

All signs point to a blockbuster trade.

One that would include two or more incoming pieces that’s been brewing since the summer time. It would make a ton of sense that this be the explanation.

You see, Anaheim is in the middle of a contract dispute with their franchise #1 defenseman, RFA Hampus Lindholm. The Ducks simply do not have the cap space to give Lindholm the money he deserves– upwards of $7 mil. per year on a long-term deal.

Hypothetically, Anaheim would be looking to shed some salary, while opening up a spot on the defense for Lindholm’s return. The Rangers are lacking in talent on the back end, and probably have their eye on one of the Ducks’ D-men, as Staple points out.

The question now becomes, who are the defensemen on the Ducks roster that A) don’t suck, B) have a significant cap hit and C) would fill a need for the Blueshirts.

The four players who fit the bill under this criteria are Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Simon Despres and Kevin Bieksa. All defenseman who make a significant chunk of change.

What makes this so tricky though is that Anaheim needs to shed cap space. So Rick Nash or Matts Zuccarello, top six wingers that the Ducks are in need of, don’t make much sense due to the money they’d be bringing to the West coast.

Unless of course, as alluded to earlier, there is a blockbuster on the horizon. A scenario where the Rangers acquire two or more pieces from the Ducks to make the numbers work.

Hypothetically, the Rangers could be in a place to part with, say, JT Miller as the centerpiece of any trade with the Ducks. Miller’s cap hit ($2.75 mil.) is very manageable for the next two seasons, including this one.

Included would have to be some more, minor pieces on the Rangers end. Dylan McIlrath, Jesper Fast, Kevin Klein and Nick Holden should be on notice.

In return, the Rangers would take on two of the Ducks’ defensemen who take up significant cap space.

My ideal trade from the Rangers’ side of things:

Rangers receive:

Vatanen ($4.75M), Despres ($3.75M)

Ducks receive:

Miller ($2.75M), Holden ($1.65M), Fast ($925K), draft pick(s)

This would round out the Rangers’ defensive core nicely. Vatanen, a righty, would immediately slot in on the top pair with Ryan McDonagh. Despres, 25, is still young and has far more upside than McIlrath at this point.

What’s your ideal trade scenario for the Blueshirts? Who do you want to see come and who do you want to see go? Discuss below.


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