Some outside the Christmas Box thinking for shaking up the Rangers
The Rangers are rumored to be very interested in changing the lineup according to Craig Custance of ESPN. For GM, Jeff Gorton he’s been handcuffed by Glen Sather‘s handing out of No Move/Trade clauses like they were sugar cookies on Christmas.
Dan Boyle, one of those players Slats gave a No Trade Clause to has no interest in waiving his to be moved. It is believed the Rangers would like to get his current 4.5M (last year of his contract) off the books to allow them some cap breathing space and bring up Brady Skjei. So with that move off the table, what are some possibilities outside of trading Rick Nash, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, all of whom will not waive their clauses to be moved.
Dominic Moore: I mentioned this on Twitter and got crushed because apparently he’s a great guy and isn’t the problem. While both those statements are true, he’s 35 years old and becomes a UFA after this season. With players like Oscar Lindberg in the fold, Moore seems expendable and his 1.5M contract could be replaced by a Brian Gibbons or Jayson Megna in Hartford. Both players bring more speed and offensive skill to the lineup and would save the Rangers about 900K in cap space (both make 600K). Moore does have a Modified No Trade Clause which means he can be moved but he has some say in the destination. As for the return, a 4th or 5th round pick would be great.
Jesper Fast or Emerson Etem: Fast is a heck of a hockey player, but he and Etem are so darn similar offensively that moving one shouldn’t change the dynamic of the team much. Both can skate but both have average scoring ability. Fast is a better defensive player, while Etem is a bigger body.
While just trading one for another prospect or pick doesn’t make sense, either one could be added to a bigger deal as a sweetener. I know some of you are calling me nuts (or worse) but realize that while they make 950K and 850K respectively now, they are going to want raises. These increases will come at the same time Kreider, Hayes and J.T. Miller will be asking for much loftier raises themselves. If you want another Carl Hagelin cost saving deal in the future, just keep them all and watch one of the bigger names leave in the same fashion.
The Big Gifts
Keith Yandle: He’s going to be a UFA this summer and he’s going to want 6M plus. Currently half his salary is being covered by the Arizona Coyotes so he can easily fit into most teams caps today. I know it sounds crazy considering he’s one of the Rangers best defenseman but don’t you find his use (or lack) on the power play puzzling? It’s almost like the Rangers are planning on him not being around all year. But what do you move him for?
Listen, the Rangers traded away a future star forward in Anthony Duclair so you know that whomever they get must be pretty big. So, why not Ryan Johansen in Columbus? Torts is starving for defense out there and the right package could make sense. Maybe throw in a Jesper Fast to get it done. Or how about prying a Matt Duchene out of Colorado? Of course you’d likely have to add a much bigger name with a cap hit close to Duchene’s $6M to make it work. Bottom line, if Gorton has one real playable chip to move in order to shakeup this team, it really is Yandle. The return would need to be incredible though.
The Show Stopper!
Ok! This is the bike under the tree or the official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle! It would be the biggest shock that GM, Jeff Gorton could do that would shake the lineup.
Chris Kreider: He’s big, he’s fast, and he can score. Listen, he has struggled this year but you can’t coach size, speed and hands. Those are God-given talents and they don’t come by that easy. He is the one forward that the Rangers could deal that would bring a strong return up front and maybe if packaged with the right defenseman, on the blue line too. The 26 year old currently makes 2.6M now, but he will be a RFA and no matter where he finishes scoring this season will want at least 4M. Honestly, I don’t see the value in trading Kreider, but I would have to see what the return would be. What if he’s part of package for Ryan Johansen? It’s simply something to consider.
Derek Stepan: What? Did you just say Stepan? Yes, and it really is me reaching for a big name. Here’s something you may not know…Stepan makes an AVV of 6M year until he is 30, but in 2017-18 his Full No Trade Clause kicks in, meaning the Rangers will not be able to move him at all. In fairness, this is my only consideration for even thinking about trading Stepan. If the return for a more offensively talented center could be made, maybe this is something to consider. It’s out there for sure, but remember the title of the article. This one is way out of the box.
So there you have it. Some thoughts on how to shakeup the Rangers after the Christmas roster freeze is lifted. Remember, the Rangers are strapped for cash due to the cap. They are limited in making moves of older players like Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal thanks to their no move/trade clauses. If Gorton is going to make any deals, they will need to be small with very little impact to the dynamic of the roster, or he will have to go big by going outside the box to shake things ups.
What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments section.