Rangers: 2 sleeper candidates that could be moved at the trade deadline

New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) is congratulated by right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) after scoring during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are gearing up for what is expected to be another hectic NHL trade deadline, as the major event is set for March 8th- –just under two months away. Some notable players are expected to be placed on the Blueshirts’ trade block. But if GM Chris Drury intends on making a major splash, there are some key players that he may need to be comfortable moving in order to significantly bolster this current lineup.

The Rangers could look to move on from Chytil in order to acquire a proper bottom-six center

The Blueshirts have been without Filip Chytil for over two months, as the young center has been out with an upper-body injury since the Rangers took on the Carolina Hurricanes all the way back on November 2nd. Following this injury, Vincent Trocheck assimilated into the second-line center position and has since been one of the best forwards in recent weeks.

With Trocheck becoming the new 2C, Chytil will unfortunately be demoted into the bottom six whenever he is able to return to the team. The problem that remains is that nobody knows when Chytil will be coming back from the LTIR. With the deadline rapidly approaching, Drury has an important decision to make- take a chance and hope that Chytil will return sometime this season, or acquire a new depth center before it’s too late.

Nick Bonino has taken on this role since Chytil left with an injury, and it’s clear that he is not a suitable candidate to play on the third line. The Rangers could use this opportunity to trade Chytil away in exchange for an older, healthy center- as long as another team is willing to bank on his recovery.

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Drury could cash in on Kakko’s potential in exchange for a fully-developed winger

One of the Rangers’ top problems so far this season has been the lack of a solid first-line right winger. Kaapo Kakko, Jonny Brodzinski, and Blake Wheeler are just a few of the players who have been tested alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, but Peter Laviolette has not been satisfied with any of those options. It’s become clear that Drury intends on filling that hole at the deadline this season, but it will come at a high price.

Acquiring a top-six forward for the first line will not be cheap. Drury will likely have to give up another top-six forward, and that could very well end up being Kaapo Kakko. While the former second-overall pick has a high potential, he has not developed into the player the Rangers want him to be. There are plenty of teams around the league in the midst of a rebuild, and some of them would be more than willing to give up a solid veteran winger in exchange for the chance to help Kakko break out for their organization.