Rangers Roundup: Trades and Buyouts are the topics of the day

The Rangers are 11 points out of a playoffs spot and the likelihood of being playoff contenders is slipping away. While the team is showing real promise, they don’t have any scoring past the first two lines, and the defense (all 5 players on the ice) give up way too much. So with the trade deadline less than a month away, you know what the top talk is so let’s go.

Latest on Trade Front

Chris Kreider is at TSN’s #1 spot on their Trade Bait list. We know that the Avalanche and Bruins are the top contenders to land him, but the Blues may not get back Tarasenko when expected so expect them to be aggressive. Additionally, the injured Penguins are going to make a play for Kreider, but my bet is they land Tyler Toffoli soon.

Then we have Larry Brooks doing a 180 in his latest piece for the NYPOST. He spent most of the season writing that the Rangers were just as likely to keep Kreider as they were to trading him. Now he’s telling you to disregard the narrative and the Rangers will be selling.

I can promise you this: The Rangers will not keep Chris Kreider through the deadline if he is not signed to a contract extension, even if the team runs off a 13-game winning streak. The same goes for the club’s other pending unrestricted free agent — top-six winger, Jesper Fast. Similarly, the standings won’t determine whether the team keeps pending restricted free agents Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome.

Larry Brooks

While I agree on Kreider, the Rangers do not have any urgency to sign Jesper Fast by the deadline. He won’t be expensive to re-sign and they could get it done before July 1st.

Note: Our readers know that we wrote about the Rangers being active players at the deadline almost all season. Here and here.

Henrik Lundqvist (Getty Images)

Buyouts

Now to the topic of buyouts, which we don’t believe the Rangers will be adding to their already large amount of dead cap space. But here’s Brooks’ take:

So, buyouts? Buying out Lundqvist would save $3 million (Don’t count on the Rangers buying out Lundqvist). Buying out Staal would save $2.133 million (Might not want to count on that, either). Buying out Smith would save $1.567 million on a presumed AHL assignment (Maybe).

Larry Brooks

If the Rangers buyout Smith they will save $2.7M next season but will have dead cap space of $788K the following year. If they send him down to the AHL next year (final year of his deal) they will save almost $1M with no penalty the year after. My thought is that he’s traded at the deadline to a team looking for defensive depth for the playoffs. Expect the Rangers to eat 50% of his salary to facilitate the move.

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