Rangers Roundup: Expansion draft, playoff odds, and more
The Rangers (66 points) have a huge game against the Carolina Hurricanes that may impact decisions made by the deadline. If the Rangers can win tonight they will only be 4 points out of the last wild card spot held by Carolina with 72 points. They will also need help with an Islanders loss to Detroit, otherwise they will remain 6 points out. A loss would be damaging and put them 8 points out.
Last night the Flyers beat the Blue Jackets, but it was in overtime. So both teams gained a point and dropped the Rangers to 22.1% to make the playoffs per Money Puck. If you aren’t happy about that, they have the Canes as huge favorites with nearly a 59% chance of beating the Rangers tonight.
One aspect of the Rangers deadline strategy is consideration towards the upcoming Expansion Draft for Seattle. Brett Crygalis wrote a piece in the NYPost that provides some insight.
As of now, two givens to protect are Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad — both of whom have no-move clauses they would have to waive to be exposed, anyway. The futures of Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Ryan Strome, Jesper Fast and Brendan Lemieux are all up in the air. It seems as if Brett Howden is in the role of Lindberg right now if the Rangers can sign him to a bridge deal after his entry-level contract expires following next season.NYPOST
Jeff Gorton will have time to maneuver with this deadline and the offseason, but he may be forced to expose someone like Brady Skjei. Other GM’s have made deals in prior expansion drafts to have a lesser player selected. He may have to entice Seattle to do the same by giving up a prospect and maybe even a draft pick too.
Brendan Smith and Greg McKegg were scratched against the Hawks. Will the scratches remain the same tonight? We will find out right after the Rangers morning skate starting at 11:30 AM EST.