The New York Rangers are expected to be heavy buyers at this season’s trade deadline, which is set to take place on Friday, March 8th. Early success indicated that the Blueshirts wouldn’t need to critique their roster too much ahead of a hopeful postseason appearance, but that has quickly changed following a midseason collapse and the announcement of Filip Chytil’s injury becoming season-ending.
With the Rangers now expected to make a larger splash at the deadline, there needs to be a solid idea of which assets Chris Drury will be willing to trade. The Blueshirts clearly want to make a push for the Stanley Cup this year, but can not jeopardize future success in later seasons.
Do: Keep the Rangers’ stars as untouchables
At this point, Drury should be listening to offers for most of the players on the roster. Something has gone seriously wrong at this point of the season, and a major move may need to be made in order to get this team back on track. Despite this, there is still a small handful of players that should be considered untouchables.
Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, and Igor Shesterkin should be the only three players Drury refuses to move. Panarin is having the best season of his career and has been the heart of the Rangers’ offensive corps ever since he joined the team in 2019. The same could be said of Fox on the defensive end, as he is the clear top defender for the Rangers. Shesterkin may be having a bit of a down year, but he remains the backbone of the Blueshirts between the pipes.
High-profile names like Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Jacob Trouba are probably not going to be traded, but Drury should certainly listen to offers in case a perfect deal reaches him. With a lot on the line this season, no active roster players aside from Panarin, Fox, and Shesterkin should be safe.
Don’t: Overpay for a depth role player
There are already a handful of names circulating around the league that the Rangers could potentially acquire at this season’s trade deadline. But most of these players will be in high demand as the deadline approaches, meaning a bidding war could potentially ensue. It’s important that despite the Rangers’ needs being quite desperate, they do not overpay for anything.
Right now, the Rangers’ top priority should be trading for a third-line center rental to fill in while Chytil is out for the rest of the year. Drury will likely try to utilize draft picks and prospects as trade pieces before he tries to use active roster players, but he must be careful about what he offers up.
First-round draft picks should be off the table in discussions for a depth player, and none of the Blueshirts’ top prospects such as Gabriel Perreault or Brennan Othmann should be involved either. If Drury is going for a third-line player, a second-round draft pick should be the highest-value item he’s willing to spend on one.
Do: Manage the cap space in order to address all three of the Rangers’ problems
With Chytil on the LTIR, the Rangers should have a little over $5 million in cap space to work with at this season’s trade deadline. It’s a lot more than fans originally expected them to have, but it may still be difficult for Drury to solve all three of the Rangers’ problems.
A third-line center should be the Rangers’ top priority, but the Blueshirts could also benefit from a top-six winger to join Kreider and Zibanejad, as well as another defender to possibly replace either K’Andre Miller or Erik Gustafsson. It’ll be a challenge for Drury to address all of these needs at once, but given what he was able to pull off during last year’s deadline, anything appears to be possible for the monetarily skilled general manager.
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