Top New York Rangers rumors to keep an eye on once play resumes

nhl rumors
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Getty Images)

“States are re-opening, cities are re-opening, and if we do the right things, I think we’ll be able to finish the season.” Those are the words of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman basically stating that cancelling the season isn’t even being considered. With that here’s a look at some of the top New York Rangers rumors to keep your eyes on once play resumes.

Andersson for Puljujarvi

Lias Andersson hurt his value when he bolted the Rangers AHL affiliate earlier this season. However, sources told me Edmonton really liked what they saw from the Rangers former first round pick, 7th overall with HV71 in the SHL. This is sparking talk that at some point both the Rangers and Oilers will revisit this trade at the draft.

Edmonton is said to be looking for a 1st round pick for the disgruntled former #4 pick overall. Could the Rangers trade the Oilers Lias Andersson and their second 1st round pick (23rd overall) for Jesse Puljujarvi and another mid level prospect? Or will NJ swoop in and give up one of their 3 first round picks (6, 10, and 17) for the big scoring winger? We could find out soon if the NHL does go forward with a June draft.

Andersson (jnytt.se)

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Gunning for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

While there will be some big names on the free agent market this summer, the one possible top UFA, Taylor Hall would cost way too much in cap space to land. Add to the fact he’s better suited at LW where the Rangers already have Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider, it makes less sense. However, there is a player who will be of major interest as he is entering the final season of his contract. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be a UFA in the summer of 2021 and headed to become the biggest rental at next season’s trade deadline. He is a player the Rangers should try and acquire as soon as the off-season for 2020 begins.

The 26 year old center was on pace for a career year. With 61 points in 65 games he was just 9 points shy of beating his previous career high of 69 points set last season. Nugent-Hopkins is entering his prime at the same time he’s going into the final year of a deal with a $6M AAV. If the Oilers don’t believe they can extend him, then they would be forced to trade him as rental come next trade deadline.

The End for Henrik Lundqvist with the Rangers

The phrase “the writing is on the wall” is so overused in sports because it fits so well in these situations. Henrik Lundqvist, the man who has backstopped this Rangers franchise with honor and grace for the last 15 seasons is now in essence a 3rd string goalie, who was serving as an honorary backup before Igor Shesterkin fractured a rib in a car accident.

Henrik Lundqvist opened up in the wake of the NHL Trade Deadline that he wants to speak with management about his future. He was honest with the Rangers about his desire to remain through the rebuild and they were happy to have him. John Davidson called Henrik Lundqvist a pro for how he is handling a very difficult situation. The team’s President should know better than anyone having been a goalie in the NHL what this feels like. Henrik realizes that this could be the end for him in NY. When the season concludes he wants to know what his role is and if it really is a fit. Of course as he told media, is it “something else”?

While this is what I like to call educated speculation, it is just that until it happens. One possible “something else” is a buyout, but that is the least likely outcome because it only saves them $3M on the cap and comes with a penalty of over 1M the year after. The scenario most expect would be waiving his NMC and getting traded to another team for one last shot as a starter and the playoffs. The Rangers would need to eat 50% of his 8.5M to make it happen and regain $4.25M to the cap. Now if the NHL reintroduces a compliance buyout, the Rangers would almost assuredly use it on Lundqvist and gain the full cap relief.

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