We are now less than two weeks away from the NHL Trade Deadline and talks are heating up. Where does each team stand and what moves should they be looking to make? We continue our look around the league with the New York Rangers.
The New York Rangers are a rebuilding team with a large assortment of promising, young pieces to build around. The team has been competitive this season, but is still a few pieces away from rounding out into a contender.
This is the description of a seller. The problem this poses to the Rangers: who are they supposed to sell? The roster is completely devoid of valuable impending free agents. Not one of New York’s UFA’s-to-be is at the top or even the middle of any buyer’s wish list. In a cap-strapped, expansion-affected, in-season trade market, the Rangers are also not going to make any major moves right now to shake up their roster or look to add those missing core pieces. The Rangers should be sellers; they simply have nothing to sell at this moment.
16-15-4, .514, 6th in East Division
Stand Pat (By Default)
Deadline Cap Space
$4.01MM in full-season space ($17.87MM at the deadline), 0/3 retention slots used, 44/50 contracts used per CapFriendly
Upcoming Draft Picks
2021: NYR 1st, BUF 3rd, NYR 3rd, OTT 4th, LAK 4th, NYR 4th, NYR 5th, NYR 6th, NYR 7th
2022: NYR 1st, NYR 2nd, NYR 3rd, NYR 4th, NYR 5th, NYR 6th, NYR 7th
A warning for the following: the word “chips” should be taken with a grain of salt – and nothing is worse than chips without enough salt. The Rangers’ trade chips are either under-seasoned or old and stale. New York could deal the whole bag for the trade capital equivalent of 99 cents. There is nothing to see here.
The most recognizable rentals on the New York roster are veteran defensemen Jack Johnson and Brandon Smith, two of the most maligned defenders in the NHL in recent years. Johnson has already cleared waivers without any takers, while Smith’s $4.35MM contract means he is unlikely to move.
Phil Di Giuseppe is the Ranger’s lone impending free agent forward on the NHL roster and their best available rental. The 27-year-old winger has eight points in 25 games, which isn’t anything special, but puts him on a 26-point full-season pace – a good value at just $700K. Di Giuseppe may not be a household name, but he has nearly 200 NHL games to his credit as well. Contenders could do worse for a cheap depth rental.
As for players with some term on their contracts, the Rangers could listen on forwards Colin Blackwell and Kevin Rooney, defenseman Anthony Bitetto, or veteran goaltender Keith Kinkaid. However, they have to be wary of the Expansion Draft exposure requirements and the repercussions that moving any of these players would have. Especially at forward, where the team already dealt away Brendan Lemieux, moving another term forward is a shaky proposition.
Of course, the big name on the block in New York is defenseman Anthony DeAngelo. With more than enough talent to command a nice trade return on ability alone, the fact is that if a DeAngelo trade was going to happen, it likely would have already. Some teams are wary of his character concerns, while others are not comfortable with adding his $4.8MM cap hit to their 2021-22 payroll. Either way, DeAngelo seems likely to stay put in New York through the season until he can be used as Expansion Draft fodder and then bought out. DeAngelo is too good not to play in the NHL again, but it won’t be this year.
1) Draft Picks and Prospects – Read: Mid-to-late-round draft picks and C- or D-level prospects. Sorry, Rangers fans. This is not going to be an exciting deadline. This is the best you can hope for. Hold tight until the off-season and wait for GM Jeff Gorton to try to swing a blockbuster for a top-six center.