Will this Rangers depth player prevent the team from trading for a new center?

New York Rangers center Jonny Brodzinski (22) attempts a shot against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period at Madison Square Garden
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have two items on their shopping list at this season’s trade deadline: a first-line right winger and a third-line center. However, there is a slim chance that the Blueshirts will be able to acquire both, as their limited cap space combined with a pricy market may be troublesome for general manager Chris Drury to overcome.

Luckily, one depth player has recently begun to improve, leading fans to wonder if they could scratch one item off their list before the deadline arrives.

Brodzinski and the Rangers’ third line have drastically improved recently

After Filip Chytil was ruled out for the remainder of the season, the Rangers were expected to go out and trade for a replacement. Jonny Brodzinski was called up as a placeholder, filling the hole in the lineup while the Blueshirts waited for Drury to work his magic. But since joining the team, Breodzinski has excelled. And now, there’s a chance that he could possibly be the answer to this problem.

In 34 games played this season, Brodzinski has totaled just four goals and 10 assists for 14 points. It may not seem too impressive at first glance, but a large portion of these points have come in the most recent stretch of play. The veteran center has gone point-per-game in his last five appearances, tallying three goals and two assists. The entire third line has heated up alongside Brodzinski, with Kaapo Kakko and Will Cuylle finding the scoresheet more as well.

On a defensive note, Brodzinski has not recorded a +/- of less than zero in any of his last five games played.

Could Brodzinski remain as the 3C for the rest of the season?

With the market being as pricy as it is right now, it might be for the best to have the Rangers keep Brodzinski on the roster for the remainder of the season. When comparing Brodzinski on the third line to Blake Wheeler on the first, finding a new winger is clearly the more urgent matter — and Drury probably won’t be able to address both.

With Chytil’s future still somewhat of a mystery, it would be safer if the Rangers acquired a new center during the off-season. But for now, as long as Brodzinski can continue to produce at the same rate he is now for the rest of the year, there is no reason why he should not remain as a solid depth center for the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

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