Rangers could swap disappointing winger for rising star center in blockbuster trade

Trevor Zegras, Rangers, Ducks
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have been mostly quiet so far this offseason despite speculation that they would pull off a few blockbuster deals in free agency. Ultimately, general manager Chris Drury has kept it low-key as he makes a few under-the-radar moves to upgrade the roster.

Yet, a blockbuster deal could still be on the horizon. The Rangers have reportedly expressed interest in making a trade for one superstar who is rumored to be on the trade block this off-season. Perhaps they could finally trade away Kaapo Kakko in a deal to acquire Trevor Zegras.

The Rangers are reportedly interested in trading for Trevor Zegras

Trevor Zegras, Rangers
Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Zegras has had his name floated around in trade rumors for quite some time now. The Rangers were reportedly in the mix with at least seven other teams earlier this offseason who were expressing “serious interest” in trading for Zegras, according to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period.

With the first week of free agency finished, Zegras is still a member of the Anaheim Ducks, despite trade interest from around the league. However, the possibility that a deal gets done remains.

Zegras would be an incredible, blockbuster acquisition for the Rangers if they pulled off a trade to acquire him this summer. The 23-year-old center has already made quite a name for himself in the NHL but is still considered to be a rising star just scratching the surface of his potential.

In 2021, Zegras totaled 61 points (23 goals and 38 assists). He followed that up with 65 points (23 goals and 42 assists) in 2022, making it back-to-back 60+ point seasons. Zegras dealt with injuries in 2023, playing in only 31 games and totaling only 15 points. But he is still a talented young player who has experience playing both center and wing and could make for an immediate upgrade in the Rangers’ lineup.

Kaapo Kakko has been on the trade block this summer

Apr 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) skates across the blue line against the Washington Capitals during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Kakko has also had his name swirled around in trade rumors as the Rangers are reportedly waiting for the “right offer” to come across their desk in order to move on from the former No. 2 overall pick.

If Kakko could be packaged together to trade for Zegras, this would be a move Drury needs to consider. Swapping Kakko for Zegras would elevate the ceiling of this team exponentially. To this point, Kakko’s single-season career-high in points is only 40, coming in 2022. Outside of that season, Kakko has surpassed a 20-point total just once and has missed significant time with injuries in nearly every season of his five-year career.

Zegras has legitimate superstar potential. He can put up far more points than Kakko in a single season and could bring the speed to the ice that the Rangers are lacking. Kakko’s trade value is only diminishing further as the offseason wears on. If the Rangers can move on from him and bring in a star young talent like Zegras, they should push to get this deal done as soon as possible.

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