The New York Ranger’s management team appears to heed the words of the legendary Kenny Rogers song The Gambler which includes the lyrics “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, and know when to walk away.” With the NHL trade deadline approaching on Feb. 24, the Rangers have been very patient when it comes to whether to trade or keep many of their pending free agents. Sitting in their hand right now, ready to be dealt or held, are these five players: Chris Kreider, Alexandar Georgiev, Jesper Fast, Ryan Strome, and Tony DeAngelo.
The New York Rangers have an Ace in Chris Kreider
Insiders are referring to this trade season as a “buyer’s market”, meaning that teams wanting players may not have to give up as much with many teams looking to move players. However, these insiders are also stating that Kreider may be the exception to this, as his skillset and playoff experience has had many Stanley Cup contenders taking a good look at him. There is also some speculation that the Rangers may still want to sign him. All of this makes Kreider their most valuable trade chip.
Rangers’ top brass have been very patient with Georgiev
Alexandar Georgiev has been the goaltender that most thought would be traded after Igor Shesterkin was called up in early January. However, the Rangers did not panic and trade Georgiev for nothing despite the increased media and social media coverage that they have endured about their three goalie situation. The Rangers are holding out for what they perceive as value and will not move him until they get what they want.
Jesper Fast’s fate seems tied to Kreider
In this market, it seems that if Kreiders stays, Fast will go. If Kreider gets traded, the Rangers will probably try to keep and re-sign the forward. It does not appear that the Rangers can keep both and stay under the salary cap next year.
The Restricted Free-Agent Conundrum
We detailed Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome’s issues for the Blueshirts in a previous article, so we won’t go into a lot of detail. However, it seems that DeAngelo may be the most likely to go as there seem to be more teams looking for defensive help, and the Rangers have quite a few capable defensive prospects in their system. The other RFA that we did not talk about much is Brendan Lemieux, but because he is a bit cap friendly in a position where the Rangers are not all that deep, he is not likely to move.
The New York Rangers have a few Wildcards
Brendan Smith ($4.35 million) and Pavel Buchnevich ($3.25 million) have been mentioned so the Rangers could free up valuable cap space. Brady Skjei is also a possibility, again as cap help and that there appear to be more teams looking for blueline help. Finally, the Rangers still have the Lias Andersson mess to deal with, and a trade deal either by himself or with one of the above players could put that to an end. The Rangers have many cards to play and February will be a busy month for Rangers management.