The New York Rangers haven’t encountered this type of season often before, if ever. The team seems to be a bubble team with no true chance of making a deep playoff run or even winning a Stanley Cup. Yet, the team also finds itself with a handful of expiring contracts who could be utilized as key trade chips to refuel their retooling process.
New York Post’s Larry Brooks writes the Rangers need to think about dealing players like Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Nick Holden and get what they can for them. The scribe believes that general manager Jeff Gorton will have one of the biggest challenges in front of him in a long time as he will have to make a decision on which direction the team should go. Could Nash bring back a first-rounder in next year’s draft and if they can, would it be worth his value anyway? What can they get for Grabner? Should the team go full in and start shopping captain Ryan McDonagh now?
The latter claim, Brooks writes, might make the most sense. The Rangers should be able to bring in a huge haul for McDonagh, who is still in his prime, is locked up until 2019 and is one of the top defensemen in the league. As there are quite a few playoff teams in need of defense, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers could truly change the way the franchise is heading at the trade deadline.
New York wouldn’t be better off without McDonagh, but with long-term deals already having been handed out to Kevin Shattenkirk, Marc Staal and Brendan Smith and the young talent the team has on defense in Brady Skjei, Neal Pionk and Anthony DeAngelo, the team should be able to survive without him if they can get a talented scorer in his place.
- Hidden among yesterday’s stories was TSN’s Bob McKenzie refuting rumors that the Arizona Coyotes are thinking about dealing defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the Toronto Maple Leafs for William Nylander. McKenzie writes that as of Sunday, there had not been one conversation between the two teams about Ekman-Larsson. He also points out that since most teams do not view Nylander as a center, he wouldn’t bring enough of a return for Ekman-Larsson as just a sniper. However, from what McKenzie can see, the Coyotes are not willing to discuss moving Ekman-Larsson as of now. The Atheltic’s Sean Tierney tweeted today that with general manager John Chayka in charge, it’s hard to see the team trading Ekman-Larsson at all.
- John Vogl of The Buffalo News writes that frustration is hitting in Buffalo as the 5-12-1 Sabres continue to struggle, yet one player is thriving in Evander Kane. Dating back to last year, the 26-year-old wing has scored 40 goals in his last 79 games. He also has 11 points in the last 11 games. Kane added his 12th goal of the season Monday in the team’s 3-2 loss to Columbus. The secret to his success? Shooting the puck. He leads the team with 96 shots on goal this year.