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Prioritizing The Trade Deadline Needs For The New York Rangers

Despite being the first team in the NHL to reach 40 wins, the New York Rangers now have to figure out their Trade Deadline needs. February was smooth sailing for the Blueshirts, with a few memorable storylines emerging. The resurgence of Igor Shesterkin was a sigh of relief, knowing that New York’s netminder was again playing like his old self. Most notably, the creation of a new folk hero was born in the likes of Matt Rempe. His physicality, size, and overall fighting skills have turned the former sixth-round pick a fan favourite.  While all this was happening, New York found themselves playing their best hockey of the season.

With Wednesday’s victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Rangers ended the shortest calendar month with an impressive 10-1-0 record. However, no one can avoid the “elephant in the room” being the upcoming Trade Deadline. In about one week, teams will have improved rosters with the hopes of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup over their heads. For the Rangers, many fans are questioning whether or not GM Chris Drury will be active. With being one of the hottest teams in the league, will they break up the band and add new blood? In order, here are the two most important Trade Deadline needs for the Broadway Blueshirts.

Rangers Trade Deadline Needs

Trade Deadline Needs: Top Six Right-Winger

Fellow beat writers and analysts are claiming that New York will be one of the busier teams next week. Many rumours have been posted on social media. Some seem legit, while others seem a bit outlandish. The argument of not adding to a team while they are hot is fair, but not when you have over $5 million in cap space. This is almost as identical to going to the toy store with your parents as a child and having them tell you “Okay Jer, pick one thing, whatever you want.” Seeing the details of the Chris Tanev trade, Chris Drury now has room to play with. If he should prioritize one position, it is the first-line right-wing slot.

How many times have we compared this spot to a revolving door? First, it was Blake Wheeler, then it was Jimmy Vesey, and now it belongs to Kaapo Kakko. For how good of a team the Rangers are, not having a set 1RW is alarming. This is an opportunity for Drury to get his guy, without giving up the entire farm. If the signs are aligning, we might have a potential reunion on our hands.

There have been numerous names being linked to the Rangers regarding the right-wing opening. This situation has us all feeling like Alanis Morissette because it’s “ironic” that all of the rumoured names are former Blueshirts. The names that have been thrown around in the rumour mill are Pavel Buchnevich, Anthony Duclair, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Frank Vatrano.

With Anaheim Ducks GM Pat Verbeek being at MSG on Wednesday, expect the Anaheim-New York rumours to pick up even more. Vatrano seems to be the likely answer, but all four players would be a significant addition to Peter Laviolette‘s lineup.

Trade Deadline Needs: Third Line Centre

With right-wing being the priority, adding more help down the middle would not hurt at all. Teams with depth down the middle tend to go far. With the Rangers already having two top centres in Mika Zibanejad (say what you will) and Vincent Trocheck, another centreman would turn the Rangers from good to great.

Adding to the Anaheim narrative, the name frequently linked to this opening is Adam Henrique. Wouldn’t that be something? Imagine if the 2024 playoff run revolved around Adam Henrique and backup netminder Jonathan Quick. Two men who are synonymous with the demise of New York’s Stanley Cup failure in two different seasons are now together to bring it back to New York for the first time in thirty years. Someone should tell Martin Scorsese that this would make a great plot for a cinematic masterpiece.

Other names being linked to the centre opening are Tommy Novak (Nashville), Alex Wennberg (Seattle), and Yanni Gourde (Seattle). The only problem with these three players is that their current teams are not mathematically out of the playoff picture just yet. Packages for these players might have to include multiple draft picks and/or high-end prospects.

If Drury’s past Trade Deadlines have proved one thing, it is that he can find the best deal when needed. He does not want to give the first-round pick for 2024, nor any highly projected prospects like Brennan Othmann or Gabe Perreault. For the right price, expect one or two new Blueshirts into the fold.

Main Photo: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports


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