The Rangers are unwilling to move their first-round pick in the 2024 draft in their pursuit of a forward ahead of the March 8 trade deadline, TSN’s Darren Dreger said on Tuesday’s edition of “Insider Trading.” That directive comes from owner James Dolan, who wants the Rangers to be a part of the final fully in-person draft before decentralization at Sphere in Las Vegas. Dolan is the majority owner of the Sphere property.
Dreger doesn’t rule out the Rangers shopping their 2025 first-round selection in a deal for an impact forward, although that would leave them with just two selections in the first three rounds over the next two drafts. GM Chris Drury dealt away both the Rangers’ 2024 and 2025 third-round picks in deals for wingers Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko before last season’s trade deadline.
The Rangers’ need for a middle-six impact piece is once again obvious if they want to pull ahead of the crowded playoff field in the Eastern Conference, especially with center Filip Chytil sidelined for the remainder of the season. Dreger said the Rangers made an offer to the Flames for Elias Lindholm before they traded him to the Canucks last week, although it’s unclear whether Drury shopped his 2025 first-round pick to do so.
No Ranger on the team’s third or fourth line has cracked ten goals this season, and fourth-line center Barclay Goodrow boasts some of the league’s worst even-strength possession numbers this season. A domino effect-type acquisition would allow 30-year-old Jonny Brodzinski, who’s been effective in a major-league role this season, to slide down to the fourth line and provide added value.
Elsewhere from the Metropolitan Division on Wednesday morning:
- Islanders center Casey Cizikas skated in a regular jersey at practice for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury on Jan. 9, per NHL.com’s Stefen Rosner. Cizikas, 32, returned to practice with a non-contact designation on Sunday and is eligible for activation off long-term injured reserve ahead of Thursday’s game against the Lightning. Now in the third season of a six-year, $15MM contract, the Toronto native has five goals and 11 points in 39 games in his usual fourth-line role between veteran enforcers Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin.
- Staying on Long Island, Islanders winger Hudson Fasching was not at practice Wednesday and remains out on a day-to-day basis with a lower-body injury, Rosner said. The 28-year-old has not skated since sustaining the injury in a loss to the Canadiens on Jan. 25. Fasching has been a healthy scratch for multiple stretches this season but played in eight consecutive games prior to the injury. The veteran minor-leaguer earned a two-year, one-way extension worth $1.55MM after working his way into a full-time role in New York in the back half of last season but has been largely ineffective with three goals and eight points in 35 games in 2023-24.