Rangers should trade for Tyler Johnson if they can’t work it out with Ryan Strome

The clock is ticking between the New York Rangers and Ryan Strome. As the two sides continue to negotiate, the November 5th arbitration date is looming large.

It is widely believed that if Strome were to get in front of an arbitrator, he’s very likely to win a one year award at $5 million or better. Would the Rangers walk away such an award? Normally, I’d say no but there are good options if they chose to.

Assessing the Ryan Strome situation

Could the Rangers really walk away from Strome like they did with Nik Zherdev? The answer is yes and that’s because for this season only, there is something called a walk back. That’s where Strome could still win his arbitration and opt to accept the Rangers offer if he doesn’t like what he finds on the open market.

Tyler Johnson trade rumors
Tyler Johnson(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

If they lose Strome, they could opt to promote Chytil to second line center. That comes off as risky to me, that’s why an attempt to sign Mikael Granlund might make sense. He may also cost significantly less than a Strome award around $5 million but there will be competition for him and that could raise his cost.

Rangers trading for Tyler Johnson is not a bad idea

The Tampa Bay Lightning are desperate to create cap space in any way they can. One player that they are pushing out the door is Tyler Johnson. The 30 year-old center was already placed on waivers and been told they want him to work with his no trade clause.

Johnson has been struggling ever since his excellent 72 point season in 2014-15. However, two seasons ago he matched a career high with 29 goals so he can produce. What could he do with a player like Artemi Panarin? A return to those goals and assists numbers is possible.

Most importantly is that it likely wouldn’t cost the Rangers more than a mid-round pick and the Lightning would be willing to eat a significant amount of his $5 million AAV over the next four season.

If Jeff Gorton could get a center like Tyler Johnson at $3 or 3.5 million a season it would be a bargain. Johnson could even move to a third line center role should Filip Chytil be ready to tale the 2C role.

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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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