Tight on cap space, Rangers should trade for Nail Yakupov
The Rangers are certainly going to be up against it this summer We detailed here the woes they will face with the cap coming at least 1.2M less than the 74M expected. If that is the case GM, Jeff Gorton will have to find inexpensive young talent with the potential to become stars to compete.
One name that is assured to be moved and rumored to be of interest to the New York Rangers is 22 year old Russian forward, Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers. His current cap hit of 2.5M, and ability to score highlight reel goals could be what the cap doctor ordered. Throw in the fact that he could help newcomer, Pavel Buchnevich adjust to life in North America and the pros far outweigh the cons (his career -88 is just awful, Edmonton or not).
The Oilers 1st overall pick in 2012 likely won’t come cheap. As many as 7 teams were vying to acquire him this past trade deadline. In an interview with Sports Express he confirmed Montreal, Carolina, NJ, and Winnipeg were one of the seven. If you recall, the Rangers were trying to acquire Yakupov back in the 2013/2014 season, when Glen Sather was still running the Rangers. Yakupov even believed he was traded at the deadline but apparently it fell through.
Were the Rangers one of those teams? I absolutely believe so and if they failed to get him at the deadline, they need to take the chance now.
What would the Rangers have to give up? A draft pick for certain and likely the negotiating rights of RFA, Dylan McIlrath. Or as Bob McKenzie speculated in March, he could be part of a larger package deal.
Regardless, Jeff Gorton needs to bring in young offensive talent this summer and fix the defense. Not an easy task, but that’s why he gets paid the big bucks.