Rangers reportedly eyeing veteran Stars defenseman in free agency

Chris Tanev, Rangers, Stars
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As the New York Rangers look to fine-tune their roster this offseason, financial constraints mean that any improvements will likely be marginal rather than transformative. However, a strategic trade involving veteran defender Jacob Trouba could pave the way for an impactful free-agent signing.

Should the Rangers Consider Trading Jacob Trouba?

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) looks on against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at Wells Fargo Center
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Jacob Trouba, the 30-year-old defenseman, delivered three goals and 19 assists last season, ending with a -4 plus/minus rating. After Trouba delivered some poor moments in the postseason, the Rangers might be considering a new direction to enhance their defensive lineup. While he is unlikely to be bought out, the Blueshirts could consider trading their team captain this summer.

Meanwhile, Chris Tanev of the Dallas Stars emerges as a potential candidate who, despite his age, could represent a valuable addition in free agency.

The Rangers could have an interest in signing Chris Tanev this summer

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars
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According to Larry Brooks of The New York Post, the Rangers might be interested in targeting Tanev in free agency:

“We’re told that Chris Tanev, the veteran right defenseman who went to Dallas from Calgary at the deadline, is extremely well-regarded by the Rangers’ personnel people, but the Stars are expected to make a strong bid to retain the rental as an impending free agent.”

Larry Brooks of the New York Post

Chris Tanev: A Potential Upgrade

At 34, Chris Tanev brings experience and a solid track record from his time with Calgary and Dallas. This past season, he contributed two goals and 17 assists, with a notable +22 plus/minus rating. Tanev’s consistent performance suggests he could offer the Rangers the defensive upgrade they need. Though older than Trouba, Tanev’s effectiveness on the ice remains apparent, making him an attractive option for the Rangers.

Contractual Considerations and Financial Implications

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche
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Tanev is concluding a four-year, $18 million contract, which saw him earning $4.5 million in the last season. In contrast, Trouba is mid-way through a seven-year, $56 million deal with the Rangers, carrying an $8 million cap hit for the next two seasons.

The idea of offloading Trouba, an 11-year veteran, in favor of a player like Tanev—who not only matches Trouba in points but exceeds in defensive prowess—presents a strategic opportunity. These marginal differences in player performance could be crucial, especially during playoff runs where defensive strength often dictates the difference between victory and defeat.

Opting for Tanev could also lead to significant salary savings for the Blueshirts, given his age and current market value. This transition could be a net-positive move, allowing the Rangers to reallocate resources more effectively while bolstering their defense for future challenges.

This potential strategic shift reflects the Rangers’ need to balance fiscal responsibility with competitive aspirations, aiming to optimize their roster within the constraints of the salary cap.

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