The New York Rangers will once again act as buyers at this season’s trade deadline, which is set for March 8th- just under two months away. It’s become clear which issues GM Chris Drury will be looking to tackle this time around, including a top-six winger and a depth defender.
The list of trade targets will continue to grow as the deadline approaches, but Drury will also need to figure out which players he is willing to give up in order to bolster the current roster.
Barclay Goodrow’s pricy contract has left the Rangers with no choice but to try to trade him away
Barclay Goodrow has been absolutely terrible this season. He has just five points in 39 games played, and no longer provides any defensive abilities as he did in previous years to make up for his poor offensive production. To make matters worse, the Rangers are paying him over $3.6 million a year to skate around in circles and hurt the team.
With the Blueshirts’ cap space extremely limited this year, Drury will have to clear some cash in order to pull off any sort of major trade. Goodrow is the clear number one candidate in order to do so, with his pricy contract not providing any sort of impact on this struggling Rangers team.
Blake Wheeler’s first 41 games in New York have already been too long of a tenure
The Rangers signed veteran winger Blake Wheeler to a cheap, one-year contract this past offseason. It was a low-risk-high-reward move by Drury, but after 41 games, it’s clear that there is no reward to be gained by this signing.
Wheeler has been one of the worst forwards for the Rangers this season, only scoring 15 points in 41 games played. He’s easily the slowest forward on the team, bringing down whatever line Peter Laviolette has him playing on. There’s nowhere on this roster where Wheeler fits in, so it might be time for Drury to give up on this experiment.
The issue of moving Wheeler will be finding a team willing to give him a shot. He’s shown that his past role as a top-six forward has diminished, as he’s provided barely any offense to the Rangers this season. Despite this, there’s hope that his cheap contract will be enough to convince another team to give him a try on their roster instead.
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If the Rangers are going to acquire a defenseman, they might as well try to be compensated for one of their own
The Rangers’ defense has quickly become a concern over the last few weeks. There will be plenty of defensemen available at the deadline, so it wouldn’t be shocking if Drury makes a push to acquire one in order to bolster that area of the roster. But with their defensive corps already consisting of six NHL-caliber players, it would be better to include someone in a trade package rather than simply scratching them or sending them down to the AHL.
Whoever the Rangers might acquire to help the defense, Braden Schneider or Erik Gustafsson will likely be the defenseman being replaced on the roster. Schneider would have the highest trade value with his young age and high potential, so it would be wise for Drury to attempt to cash in on him first.
Teams that are looking to rebuild with a younger corps would be willing to give up a solidified veteran for Schneider, so it would make sense for that to be the approach Drury takes when tackling the defense.