Rangers won’t be sellers or buyers at the deadline, just players
John Davidson knows where the Rangers are this season. They are at the crossroads of their rebuild with a commitment to stay the course. That means continuing to develop the talent they have and retool this lineup with those players. We are seeing it now with the promotion of Igor Shesterkin and the ice time given to Kaapo Kakko. Knowing full well Vitali Kravtsov is going to play this season on Broadway, this team is getting younger and improving.
Waiting in the wings are also two surefire blue liners in Nils Lundkvist and K’Andre Miller. That means Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton have to make room for them and ensure the best lineup heading into next season. It’s important because not making the playoffs could have job ramifications for David Quinn in 2021.
Must Trade Players At The Deadline
There’s two players the Rangers have to move at the deadline, Chris Kreider and Alex Georgiev. It’s not because they aren’t valuable but exactly because they are. Here’s the problem with Kreider, his next contract will be in the neighborhood of 7 years and $7M, and while it would be fine for next season, it will be an albatross by year 3, if not 2. Gorton needs that money to pay the future of this franchise in Pavel Buchnevich, Kravtsov and Kakko soon.
As for Georgiev, he is simply the odd man out in a three goalie situation that boasts a Hall of Famer in Henrik Lundqvist and his heir, Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers could get a 1st rounder for Kreider, and a possible a 2nd for Georgiev. It’s just good asset management.
Need for Centers
While it sounds like I am telling you the Rangers should be sellers, I am not. The fall out from Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil’s inconsistencies at center shows Gorton should look to add another center to the organization.
First things first, they need to lock up Ryan Strome who will be an RFA this summer to at least a 2 year deal. He has locked up the 2C spot and earned it for next season already. Chytil could be better suited on the wing and Howden should be the 4th line center regardless of his solid play on the wing lately. So how can the Rangers be buyers at the deadline too?
The Rangers have a moveable asset in Brady Skjei with a cost controlled contract to 2024. They could use him, along with the likes of Lias Andersson to try and add an NHL center to this lineup. How about 27 year old center Jean-Gabriel Pageau? He has 30 points in 44 games and could be part of a blockbuster between the Rangers and Sens since he is a UFA this summer. Of course, if Skjei is involved in any trade the Rangers need to extract maximum value and a possible 1st round pick to boot.
Davidson and Gorton in the driver’s seat
This article is just scraping the surface here. The bottom line is that the Blueshirts are in total control at the deadline and can both buyers and sellers. Simply put, the Rangers are going to be players at this year’s NHL trade deadline.