Rangers may want to add for a playoff run and Rickard Rakell looks tantalizing

The New York Rangers have been one of the better teams in hockey over the last few weeks. They’ve also won six of their last eight and have reasserted themselves into the East Division playoff picture.

This may have Jeff Gorton possibly looking a deal to bolster their center/forward depth for a playoff push. While they wait for Jack Eichel to become available – likely this offseason, the Ducks may have an intriguing player to move in the right deal.

Rickard Rakell is an intriguing option

Rickard Rakell is a 27 year-old forward on a bad Ducks team. He is being used as a wing but can play center. His cap hit is $3.789 million and he has one year remaining on his contract. This means he’s not a rental and a very intriguing player available on the market.

It sounds like the Ducks may try to rebuild and Rakell may no longer fit into their plans. While he’s struggling, along with the rest of Anaheim this season Rakell can put up points.

Prior to this season, Rakell was averaging .73 points per game over the last three years and would bolster a lot of team’s top six. He’s a name to watch for next month as the Ducks would likely get a young roster player and prospect/pick back for him.

Should the Rangers want to bolster the third line and round out a deep top nine when Artemi Panarin comes back – Rakell could be a fit.

nhl trade rumors rangers
Dec 19, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (67) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Filip Chytil still a question mark as a center

While Filip Chytil has played really well this season, he and Kevin Rooney found themselves trading places. Filip has not taken a draw since he’s come back from injury. Yesterday, he had a strong game but it came as a winger on the third line.

Rooney has been a pleasant surprise, but when Panarin comes back Alexis Lafrenière will most certainly drop to the third line. While having Julien Gauthier or Colin Blackwell as the opposite winger is solid, you’d be hard pressed to tell me that Rakell wouldn’t be a better fit as a center/winger on a line with Chytil and Lafrenière.

The big Swede has potted 30 goals twice in his career (33 in 2016-17, 34 in 2017-18). Rakell was primarily being used as a center in Anaheim up until the 2018-19 season where he was moved to the wing.

He could play a very similar role here but give the Blueshirts legit proven scoring three lines deep. It may very well cost the Rangers a player like Julien Gauthier and pick/prospect but it could be worth it.

New York is going to be forced to expose a some good forwards in the expansion draft. Some fans want them to protect Colin Blackwell, but at whose expense? Brendan Lemieux is my pick to be protected but a lot remains to be seen.

Bottom line is Rakell’s available and has only a year left on his deal at a reasonable cap hit. The Blueshirts can make moves at the draft and with the Seattle Kraken if they really want to protect certain players. They also need to make sure they have viable options should a trade for a center this offseason remove a player like Ryan Strome from their lineup.

It’s time to start thinking playoffs and with the deadline just five weeks away – adding a key piece is looking like a plan right now.

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