Rangers Roundup: Early trade bait candidates, predictions, and more

The latest New York Rangers news and rumors looks at early trade bait candidates, predictions, and more.

Let’s check in on the buzz surrounding the Blueshirts.

Last Game: New York Rangers rookies beat Flyers 4-2

Early Rangers trade bait candidates

When it comes to sports, trade rumors are always a source of interest and sparks a ton of conversations among fans. So let’s have some fun and look at a few possible trade bait candidates for the Rangers.

A recent article in The Athletic predicts one player from all 32 teams that might be traded and names defenseman Erik Gustafsson as the Blueshirts most likely option. The thought process is that he could be swapped out for a “more reliable No. 6 at some point,” per Arthur Staple.

The 31 year-old was signed to a one-year deal for $825,000 and will compete against youngster Zac Jones for the right to start opposite Braden Schneider on opening night. Gustafsson registered 7 goals and 42 points in 70 games split between the Caps and Leafs last season.

While predicting Gustafsson isn’t a stretch, it actually means good news for the Blueshirts. That would indicate that Jones is excelling and considered an every day player at the age of just 22.

Now with that said, it got me thinking of who else could be up for grabs at some point this season.

Two other potential candidates would be fellow summer free agent signings Nick Bonino and Tyler Pitlick, who also inked deals for just one season.

Bonino, 35, posted 10 goals and 9 assists for 19 points in 62 games split between the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins. A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pens in 2016 and 2017, he bolsters the team’s fourth line and center position.

Pitlick, 31, recorded 7 goals and 9 assists for 16 points in 61 games last season with the St. Louis Blues. The big forward is an excellent candidate for the fourth-line thanks to his penchant for hitting. He had 103 hits for the Blues in 2022-23.

In order for the Rangers to consider moving these players, it likely means prospects like Brennan Othmann and Will Cuylle have played their way onto the roster. That would allow for Peter Laviolette to move players like Barclay Goodrow down to the fourth-line to accommodate.

Ranking the Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick tandem

Igor Shesterkin
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Blueshirts are rock solid in net this upcoming season with Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick.

Shesterkin, 27, posted a record of 37-13-8 last year with a GAA of 2.48 and a .916 save percentage. He enters his fifth NHL campaign just one win shy of the century mark. For his young career, the 2021-22 Vezina winner is 99-42-14 with a GAA of 2.37 and a .924 save percentage.

Quick, 37, has a career mark of 375-277-84 with a GAA of 2.47 and .911 save percentage. He also knows a thing or two about winning as he backstopped two Stanley Cup runs with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014.

According to Mike McKenna of The Daily Faceoff, he ranks the duo 7th out of 32 tandems in the NHL. That being said, Shesterkin’s good friend Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders and his partner Semyon Varlamov come in first.

Rangers Outlook

NHL Network Analyst Mike Rupp joined the Forever Blueshirts Show on Thursday and gave us his outlook for the 2023-24 New York Rangers.

“I’ve got New Jersey, New York, Carolina and I like them all better than Toronto,” Rupp began. “Boston’s not going to be in that mix anymore. Tampa is going to be a bit of a sleeper for me but the Rangers got just about a good a chance as anybody in the East.”

One thing that he stressed was players like Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko need to take the next step in order for the Rangers to separate themselves from the pack.

His sentiments were also shared by The Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin in his preview of the Blueshirts.

The Rangers still have a deep and talented roster built to compete in the present and easily make the playoffs, but they may do so with less hype this time around. Whether they can correct course and push for a Stanley Cup depends a lot on whether the kids realize their potential.

The Daily Faceoff

So where do you have the Rangers finishing this year? Let your voice be heard in the polls below.

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

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