The New York Rangers are on a serious up trend after a mediocre 10-9-4 start to the season. Beginning with a win over the Ottawa Senators on November 30, this team is on a 12-3-2 run.
Heading into action tomorrow afternoon against the Devils in New Jersey, the Rangers are just one point behind them for second place and six points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for first in the Metropolitan Division.
As this team continues to tack on points in the standings, they inch closer to solidifying a playoff berth. Which also means being a buyer at the NHL Trade Deadline scheduled for March 3, 2023.
Let’s take a look at some names closely associated with Rangers in trade rumors.
Patrick Kane remains Rangers top target
Dating back to last season, Patrick Kane has been linked to the New York Rangers. Many experts and insiders believe that the 34-year-old winger is indeed Chris Drury’s top target and would love to reunite him with former linemate Artemi Panarin for a Stanley Cup run.
“He’s always got those quick, witty comments,” Kane told The Athletic in December. “I mean, obviously, it’d be fun to play with Panarin again.”
Currently, Kane is nursing a leg injury and is being held out for precautionary reasons. There’s no indication that this is any sort of long-term nagging issue. He has 27 points in 37 games to date for a bad Chicago Blackhawks team.
The question to ask is what will it take to get him in a trade? Honestly, that depends a lot on Kane.
The 3-time Stanley Cup champion has a full no-move clause which will play a big role in any trade package. If he says, ‘I only want to go to the Rangers,’ then it shouldn’t cost Drury more than a first round draft pick and a solid prospect like Will Cuylle for Kane at 50% cap retention. Should Kane give the Hawks several teams, it’s a bidding war the Rangers must avoid.
Many have circled Broadway for “Showtime” Patrick Kane’s next starring role, and it makes sense as their Top 6 winger addition to increase production up front. Could they pivot on the back end and provide Braden Schneider a more reliable and harder to play against partner? Knowing they have Igor the Equalizer, it might be time to reunite Kane and Artemi Panarin.
Ryan O’Reilly a Rangers target
Another name starting to be associated with the Blueshirts is St. Louis Blues captain, Ryan O’Reilly. The 31-year-old center has 16 points in 37 games and was recently placed on LTIR with a broken foot. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.
The thought of the Blues trading their captain would’ve been shot down quickly in the preseason, but St. Louis is two points out of the last wild card spot. Considering the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers are also fighting to make the postseason, the Blues may be sellers come March.
“The Avalanche, Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the teams that pursue O’Reilly,” TFP’s David Pagnotta said. “If he’s up for grabs.”
O’Reilly is in the final year of a deal with an AAV of $7.5 million, so the Rangers would certainly need the Blues to eat some cap space. That being said, Drury could land him for a first-round pick and a prospect.
Such a move would bolster the Rangers center depth position for a long playoff run. It will also give Gerard Gallant flexibility to move Filip Chytil to the right wing and deepen that position.
Vladimir Tarasenko a great plan B
Tarasenko, 31, is in the final year of his deal with an AAV of $7.5 million. This season, he posted 29 points in 34 games for the Blues and still has an open trade request that became public two summers ago.
The winger is currently on LTIR with a hand issue and is expected to miss at least four weeks. Which means, there should be no impact to his availability come the trade deadline. It’s likely the Blues may move him regardless. The buzz surrounding Tarasenko is that he wants to test the free agent market in July.
One thing to point out is Tarasenko has a full no-move clause and reportedly was willing to waive it for only a handful of teams that included the New York Rangers. That should help Drury in what should be a very reasonable package that will include at least a first-round pick.
If they miss out on Kane, Tarasenko is a very likely option.
Bo Horvat an ‘expensive’ alternative
If the New York Rangers want to go big, Bo Horvat would be an extremely bold move.
According to Rick Dhaliwal, the pending UFA rejected the Canucks most recent offer which makes him a top candidate for a trade at the deadline come March 3.
The 27-year-old is having an excellent season with 28 goals and 43 points in 38 games. He’s by far the most productive player to be mentioned in this article.
Horvat is in the final year of a deal that pays $5.5 million and is looking for a max term deal in the $8 million range. While it would be great to add him, I believe the acquisition cost is too prohibitive as the Canucks would have suitors lined up out the door. Horvat has no type of trade protection and all 31 teams can start a bidding war.
That being said, Horvat remains a possibility for the Rangers. However, unless there’s a path to re-sign him, I don’t think Drury will go this route.
As for a trade package, you’re looking at moving one of the kids in order to create some cap space to re-sign Horvat. Think something along the lines of a first-round pick and Filip Chytil just for starters.
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