Rangers: 3 trade targets that could fix the first-line

San Jose Sharks left wing Anthony Duclair (10) skates down ice for a shot on goal attempt in the first period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Since the New York Rangers traded Pavel Buchnevich after the 2020-21 season, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad have played with 14 different right-wingers. In Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals, Kaapo Kakko returned to a first-line RW role. While Kakko is back up there, the Rangers could still make a move for a right-winger at the trade deadline. Three trade options stand out to fill the black hole known as the first-line right wing.

Sean Monahan could bring versatility to the Rangers’ offense

Sean Monahan of the Montreal Canadiens is on an expiring contract that is dirt cheap. The 29-year-old has a cap hit of $1,985,000 according to Cap Friendly. Through 40 games this year, he’s played to the tune of 11 goals and 14 assists for 23 points. While Monahan wouldn’t be a deadly scoring winger, he would provide enough scoring for the Rangers to make a deep push in the playoffs.

Monahan’s ability to play all three forward positions is what makes him more valuable than the other candidates. An Andrew Copp-esc player, Monahan can be slotted into a third-line center role if need be. It shouldn’t take Drury much to make this trade happen, and it would also allow him to make another.

2. A potential reunion with Anthony Duclair – San Jose Sharks Right Wing

Rangers should be familiar with this player, as Anthony Duclair was a draft pick and even played 18 games for the Broadway Bluehshirts. Duclair holds a cap hit of $3 Million which would also allow the Rangers to make one more move.

The 28-year-old’s speed, shot, and defensive play bring attributes that the Rangers are lacking on their first line. Unfortunately, the winger has been inconsistent at getting on the score sheet this year. In 39 games, Duclair has put up 16 points (eight goals and eight assists) including a two-point game against the Rangers earlier this season. The scoring issue might turn off General Manager Chris Drury from making a trade.

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3. Bringing back Vladimir Tarasenko

Another name that Ranger fans should be familiar with is Vladimir Tarasenko. On a struggling Ottawa Senators team, Tarasenko has been a bright spot. He’s racked up 28 points (10 goals and 18 assists) in the 36 games he’s played with them.

He is a sniper with a shot-first mentality which is something the Rangers first line has been lacking all year. In addition, he also brings a pretty physical game which he likes to use often.

The Rangers acquired Tarasenko at the deadline last year, and the now 32-year-old did not disappoint. In 31 games with the squad, he accumulated 21 points (eight goals for 13 points). During the off-season, the two had mutual interest, but Chris Drury couldn’t find the cap space to complete a deal.

Being the most expensive of the three targets, as he carries a $5 Million cap hit, Chris Drury would need the Senators to eat some money for this to work.