Rangers may have investigated acquiring Sabres RFA Victor Olofsson

Jan 26, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Victor Olofsson (68) and New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) battle for the puck in the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Rangers are continuously attached to some of the bigger names out there as we inch closer to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 21.

However, there have been several instances this season where Chris Drury has shown reported interest in other team’s pending RFA’s like the Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk and Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome.

It appears another name can be added to the mix as well.

New York Rangers looked into Victor Olofsson

According to Elliotte Friedman in his latest 32 Thoughts Blog, he believes the Rangers contacted the Sabres about Victor Olofsson.

I do think the Rangers looked at Buffalo’s Victor Olofsson. However, he is a restricted free-agent with arbitration rights, and I don’t believe New York can handle next season’s projected number.

Elliotte Friedman

Olofsson, 26, was mired in a 30 game goal drought that he recently broke out of with two tallies in a game against the Islanders on February 15. His offensive struggles is likely the main reason why his name is rumored to be available. This season, he has 7 goals and 24 points in 42 games. A far cry from the 20 goals he potted as a 24 year-old in 2019/20 in just 54 games.

The pending RFA is currently making $3,050,000 and would become a UFA the following summer if he simply signs his qualifying offer. According to the Buffalo News, he scores a majority of his goals from the right circle, and the Rangers desperately need help on the right wing.

While Friedman says that the Rangers cap situation next season makes a move for Olofsson difficult, I beg to differ. If the Rangers feel that Olofsson could be a productive winger at around $4M per season, he could be worth the risk.

What does this say about Chris Drury’s trade approach

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless, if the Rangers acquire Olofsson or not, it’s refreshing that Drury is still looking at potential young and promising long term solutions.

I understand the NHL Trade Deadline is all about the rentals. In the end, a handful of contenders spend like crazy giving up draft picks and prospects. However, only one of them will win the Stanley Cup.

The Tampa Bay Lightning gave up a first and a third round pick to acquire David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets as a rental. It paid off because they won the Cup. Of course, the Lightning could not afford to keep him and he left via free agency to the Montreal Canadiens weeks later.

It was a steep price to pay, but winning makes it palatable. Had they been bounced in the first round the story going forward would have been much different.

So even though the Rangers are expected to be in the rental market, it seems that Drury may be looking at going a different route. If the Rangers are going to send off a prospect like Nils Lundkvist or Vitali Kravtsov, it sure seems like they’d rather do it on a pending RFA with a future beyond this summer.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore