The Rangers fell in unlucky fashion to the rival Islanders at the Garden last night and have lost 2 in a row heading into the All Star Break. At 23-21-4, the Blueshirts have 50 points and are 10 points out of the last wild card spot. With the trade deadline coming faster than you think on February 24th, the team will play only 13 more times by that date.
How will the Rangers look when they take on the Islanders on Tuesday, the 25th? Will the Rangers close the gap for that final wild card spot? There’s many questions that need to be answered. So let me try and tackle them.
I spoke with Johan Rylander about where Andersson is at and what has been relayed is that he feels confident about his future. Rylander believes as I do that the disgruntled forward is aware of the Rangers active plans to trade him by the deadline and also loan him to an SHL team to get into game shape. John Davidson is speaking directly with Andersson and that should help facilitate a move. While I don’t expect him to be dealt during this break, it’s very possible if his new skates help with his feet/ankle issues that he will be loaned soon.
I love Chris Kreider the player and the person. He is a leader for the team on and off the ice. He is also now an All Star and he deserves the honor. The issues with Kreider is his age (28) and what his next contract will look like. He will want at least 7 years at $7M and while that will be fine in years 1 and 2, it will be a burden for the rest of the term.
Right now the list of known teams that are interested in Kreider are the Avalanche, Bruins, Blues, and Penguins. One other team to keep an eye on as a dark horse to land him are the Lightning. I fully expect him to be dealt by the deadline. A 1st round pick and maybe more will be the return unless it’s a much bigger deal that includes Lias Andersson.
The only way the Rangers don’t trade Georgiev is if Lundqvist says he’s wants to be traded or will retire at the end of the season. I simply don’t see it. Expect many teams to be in on Georgiev and for the Rangers to maximize the return. The Leafs may actually consider parting with Kasperi Kapanen soon, but keep a look out for the San Jose Sharks to make a push for him also.
Other Trade Notes
There’s been lots of talk about the RFA’S Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo, and Brendan Lemieux. This one is easy…
THE RANGERS AREN’T TRADING THEM!
Why would they? The team is in control and if they want, they could trade one at the draft for a better return anyway. I still think the team re-signs all three.
One Ranger I can see traded is Brendan Smith to a contender for a 3rd or 4th rounder. Another possibility is moving Brady Skjei in the right trade, but without knowing if K’Andre Miller is ready to challenge for a spot, it may make sense to wait.
Artemiy Panarin is all Hart
While Panarin is going to flirt for a scoring title, he will likely not overtake Connor McDavid. He may however be the first player since Mario Lemieux in 1988 to win the Hart even though his team not make the playoffs.
Rangers will miss the playoffs
Unless the Rangers go on a huge run out of the break, they are likely to be a distance from the last playoff spot. That should certainly motivate Gorton to make trades that have an eye on next year for sure.