Rangers Rumors: Scouting the Sharks, and is Flyers’ Scott Laughton a trade target?

NHL: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers euphoric come-from-behind victory over the New York Islanders at a raucous MetLife Stadium is behind them.

Artemi Panarin’s emotional game-winner just ten seconds into overtime should give them extra juice against the visiting Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. As we await word on defenseman Ryan Lindgren, who took a stick near his eye in the third period and missed the rally, we know the Blueshirts will be without Filip Chytil and Blake Wheeler for the rest of the season.

Let’s dive into some of the latest trade rumors concerning the Rangers.

Rangers Rumors: Scouting the San Jose Sharks closely

NHL: San Jose Sharks at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After losing Blake Wheeler in last Thursday’s 7-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens, the Rangers have had scouts at the last two San Jose Sharks games.

Per Max Miller, the Rangers took in San Jose’s contest against the Calgary Flames followed by their tilt versus the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 17th. If the Rangers also have a scout for Monday’s matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights, something could be really brewing between these two clubs.

The industry rumblings have the Rangers targeting pending UFA winger Anthony Duclair. This season, the 28-year-old has posted 11 goals and 19 points in 49 games. Not exactly noteworthy numbers, but he’s playing for a very bad Sharks team. Given better linemates, he could find his 2021-22 form, where he registered 31 goals with the Florida Panthers.

What makes Duclair a likely target over more high-profile names like Vladimir Tarasenko, is the cost to acquire him may be no higher than a second-round pick or a mid-level prospect. Additionally, his cap hit of $3M AAV is a lot easier to fit into their own cap situation without requiring San Jose to retain a lot of his salary, if any at all.

Diving into the Scott Laughton rumors

One new name that has entered the chat is Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton. The 29-year-old has registered 25 points (7 goals, 18 assists) in 56 games to date. He also has two more years remaining on his contract at $3M AAV.

I don’t know about you, but despite Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman seeing a potential fit with the Rangers, it doesn’t add up for me.

First off, the Rangers and Flyers are divisional rivals that could meet in this year’s postseason. That being said, Laughton would make a nice third-line center, but what happens when Chytil returns next season? And while there’s uncertainty surrounding Chytil’s future, he announced his intent to return after this latest suspected concussion.

A recent article in The Athletic suggested the starting point to acquire Laughton would be the Rangers first-round pick in the 2024 draft. If not that pick, Kaapo Kakko is another trade chip.

Does a player that’s highest point total in an NHL season of 43 really warrant giving up Kakko or a first-round pick? That’s going to be a no from me, and I’m pretty sure the Rangers.

Yes, Laughton is rumored to be available, but I don’t see the Rangers going after him.

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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