Rangers looking to play third wheel in Karlsson trade, who comes back?

Ryan Callahan (Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have been very quiet this offseason. In Dallas, the draft came and went with little to no movement. When the UFA market open, Jeff Gorton opted not to pay any veteran and appears to be sticking to the rebuild game plan.

The Karlsson Sweeps

Erik Karlsson is now the coveted big fish of the offseason with John Tavares signing in Toronto. The Senators franchise defenseman has a year remaining on his contract and can only be obtained through a trade. That field opened once Karlsson agreed to talk extension with any team that made the deal to acquire him.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are reportedly that team but in order to make the deal fit under their cap situation, they must bring in a third wheel to take on one of their bigger contracts. New York and New Jersey are the two teams that appear to be in the mix for helping Tampa acquire Karlsson.

Playing the Third Wheel

The one name that continues to be repeated going to the New York Rangers is former Blueshirts’ captain, Ryan Callahan. The 33 year old heart and soul grinder comes with a $5.8 million cap hit until next season. In order for the Rangers to take this on, Tampa must incentivize Jeff Gorton further with a high level prospect at least.

There is also the potential of making this a much bigger deal since the Rangers have a plethora of young players of their own, including some big name RFA’s they could trade their rights to TB. Could a player with another significant cap hit be coming this way?

Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson could be part of a blockbuster three-way trade. Of the three mentioned above, Alex Killorn is the oldest at 28, and has a decent cap hit of $4.45M until 2023. The big LW, scored 15 goals and 47 points last season for Tampa and would make a nice addition to the a very green forward group.

Of course, Ondrej Palat would be ideal, as the 27 year LW scored 35 points in only 56 games. Palat’s cap hit is bigger at $5.3 million but only runs to 2022.

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