The New York Rangers lost last night to the Toronto Maple Leafs, mustering up just one goal against the red-hot Jack Campbell. That lack of offensive output probably only strengthened general manager Chris Drury’s belief that his team needs an extra forward, something that was reported before the game by TSN’s Darren Dreger. The Rangers are after a “middle-six” forward, following the season-ending injury to Sammy Blais.
Today, Arthur Staple of The Athletic examines eight potential targets for the Rangers, including Calle Jarnkrok of the Seattle Kraken and Phil Kessel of the Arizona Coyotes. Those are obviously very different types of players, but Staple examines several others that should fall somewhere in the middle. Interestingly, the scribe also notes that a veteran defenseman is also on the Rangers’ shopping list.
In last night’s PHR Live Chat, the idea of another depth forward being the Rangers most pressing need was also touched upon. The team has been good through the early part of the season but has notably been outscored at even-strength. Their powerplay, helmed by top talents like Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider and Mike Zibanejad, has been dynamic, carrying them through several games with plenty of production. It’s past those few of skaters that things start to get a bit less rosy, as young talents like Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil have offered very little offense. Those three, in particular, have combined for just eight goals and 12 points, not quite what many expected heading into the season.
So another forward is on the mind of Drury, and he has plenty of ways to acquire one. The Rangers have extra second and fourth-round picks this year, plus more than $9MM in cap space. On an expiring deal, they could take on an expensive forward like Kessel or even someone that comes with a bit higher price in terms of future assets. The team is in a good place for buying, though they will have to consider the term when acquiring a new forward. Adding money to next year’s cap, when Zibanejad and Adam Fox both have huge extensions kicking in, would likely be a mistake at this point unless they are adding a key contributor.