Rangers offseason moves and trades: Explore everything!

Lundqvist disappointed (NHL)

Lundqvist disappointed (NHL)

So much has been written in the wake of the Rangers weak exit from the playoffs, it will make your head spin. It was only fueled further by comments made by Alain Vigneault on break up day. “We want to bring in different players to add to the dynamic,” he said. “The core guys have been together for a while. Certainly it’s time to look at what we can do to improve.” Essentially, the Rangers must explore all options which could include trading players like, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist.

Ryan McDonagh

McDonagh (Robert  Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)

McDonagh (Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)

It seems unthinkable, but is there a Ranger on the roster that could land a bigger bonanza than McDonagh? His age (27 this June) and cap friendly contract (4.5M to 2019) are coveted league wide. What would the Oilers give up to get him? Their 1st round pick (which could be #1 overall) and Taylor Hall?

I am not suggesting the Rangers should trade their captain and I don’t think Larry Brooks was either when he wrote about the idea. But Brooks made some valid points to consider because there are teams out there looking for a defenseman just like him with Edmonton and Colorado topping the list.

Here’s my thought, I wouldn’t trade McDonagh in a one to one deal. If Colorado wanted to send over only Matt Duchene, who would instantly be the Rangers #1 center, I’d turn it down. Reason being is, you close one hole and open another.

The deal would need to be a blockbuster like the one I mentioned with Edmonton earlier. Only a top 6 forward and a #1 draft pick (in the top 3) would even get me to bat an eye at the thought of trading our best overall defender.

Henrik Lundqvist

Listen, the only reason to consider moving him is his age and nothing else. Hank also has a NO MOVEMENT CLAUSE which means he needs to be willing to waive it. Let’s pretend he does because it’s a team like Chicago, L.A. or any top level team that is a serious Cup contender…what do even ask for?

Obviously it starts with their #1 goaltender because the Rangers don’t have a goalie remotely close to taking Hank’s place. From there it needs to be really in the Rangers favor. What about Hank to L.A. for Jonathan Quick and Tyler Toffoli? Would you say no? I don’t think I would but there is no reason to think L.A. would make a move like this.

Again, trading Hank would need to be a big win for Jeff Gorton and it doesn’t seem like a deal he would make or another team would cough up the players for.

Derek Stepan or Derick Brassard

Realize it’s either one or the other because trading both is competitive suicide. Again, the only reason to make a move here is if there’s a bigger plan to land a #1 center. No third line center is worth 5-6M dollars. So one of these men would be moved if let’s say they made a run to land Steven Stamkos.

Now before you salivate over Stamkos’ 91 stitched to the back of a Rangers jersey, realize how much cap space they would need to clear. That means, Rick Nash is a goner and so is Keith Yandle. If this dream acquisition were to happen, Stepan or Brassard would be used to land a top 6 winger for sure.

Rick Nash

Nash (MSG)

Nash (MSG)

Regardless of any of the wild possibilities above, this is a move the Rangers must make. Nash and his 7.8M cap hit hurts the Rangers after years of playoff scoring woes. He must submit his list of 10-12 teams so Gorton can make a move. A trade to the St. Louis Blues would be perfect to maybe land Kevin Shattenkirk since we may lose Keith Yandle to free agency.

It wouldn’t be just Shattenkirk alone, and could land a serviceable winger as well like Alexander Steen. Of course, trading Nash has to mean gaining some cap space and replacing some of his scoring as well.

Keith Yandle

Best case scenario, the Rangers find a way to keep him. Worst case scenario, they lose him for nothing when the market opens. If they feel that is likely, then the Rangers need to trade his rights at the draft and at least get a mid to late round pick for his negotiating rights. Ya hear me Boston?

Trade or Buy Out Dan Girardi

Remember, Girardi needs to waive his clause first and I don’t think he has any interest in doing so. Still, if he could be coaxed into doing so, then the Rangers have to trade him for anything just to get the contract off the books.

Buying him out is a hit of 1.4M in dead cap space until 2025!


No matter what I wrote above, changes are coming. Vigneault said, “we’re at the stage where we look at everything.” Brassard said on break up day he expects to see a different team next year and Nash admitted as much too.

This team can’t come into next year with just a tweak or two. No, the Rangers know they need to shake up this roster and try a different approach. A more balanced attack is preferred. A little less flash and a little more crash is my preference.

That means players like Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller are a lot more valuable to me then say, Kevin Hayes. It’s time to make some moves and the activity will start as soon as this year’s NHL draft begins.


Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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