Trade Freeze lifted, are the Rangers ready to deal?

Stepan led the way (Getty)

The trade freeze is lifting at 8 am and rumors abound that the Rangers are ready to start dealing.

Derek Stepan gone?

Stepan has been the most prominent name in trade talks and considered the best asset that Jeff Gorton has to land a defenseman. Arizona has high interest in Derek Stepan but Oliver Ekman-Larsson is not rumored on the move. Take into account he’s left handed and just been named team captain and the fit doesn’t really work there.

Minnesota seems like a good trade partner, and possibly Anaheim with their plethora of defensemen. Colorado has some big names available. Winnipeg has Jacob Trouba, but do they really want to move him? Bottom line, the Rangers could trade Stepan and his NMC clause before July 1 and sign Joe Thornton to a 1-2 year deal to replace him come start of free agency.

All these options seem to point to a Stepan trade today.

Are the Rangers dealing their #1 pick?

Late yesterday, an analyst from FrolundaHC (Sweden) tweeted this out.

 

Thus far I have reached out to 2 reliable sources that could not confirm and told me to “proceed with caution.” In other words, after not having a first round selection in years, I doubt Gorton will move it unless it is in a blockbuster.

Trade Lift Off Today? We will see.