As the trade deadline creeps closer and closer, the New York Rangers aren’t willing to risk their prizes in another hockey game. Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post reports that both Rick Nash and Michael Grabner will not play tonight, which explains the call-up of Vinni Lettieri earlier today.
The Rangers are set to be the star of the deadline with Nash, Grabner and potentially Ryan McDonagh changing teams in the next few days. The club issued a letter to fans earlier this month declaring that a rebuild was on the horizon, and already moved Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins for a third-round pick. The names mentioned above are expected to be worth much more than that when they eventually do move, and an injury could derail those plans.
New York will play in three games before the deadline including tonight, but the team has already basically admitted they’re not going to the playoffs this season. Despite being just six points behind the final wildcard spot, GM Jeff Gorton has already started to plan for next season and beyond. The next few days are incredibly important to those plans.