January 1, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers including left wing Brandon Dubinsky (17) shown on the ice for practice a day before the NHL Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Writer Response: Which Rangers Are Most Likely To Be Traded?

We’ve done a lot of discussing what players the Rangers might be interested in acquiring at the deadline, but in order to bring in a quality player you have to give up something in return. I asked the writers of Blue Line Station which New York Rangers player(s) or prospect(s) they think is most likely to be used in a trade to bring in a top player. Keep reading to see the responses.


Depends on what you mean by “big trade?” If it’s for a player of Bobby Ryan’s caliber, certainly Brandon Dubinsky will be involved for salary cap issues. But if the Rangers drop down a tier in talent because of the price tag, I could see Artem Anisimov as a player going the other way. Still young and developing, Artie is under control through the 2012-2013 season at a manageable cap hit. For a rebuilding team, that could entice them enough despite Anisimov’s recent struggles.

If we’re going the prospect route, it would be Mats Zuccarello. His contract is up at the end of the season and has expressed a desire to play at the NHL level. Teams that have scoring needs at the deadline might be willing to give New York a mid-level prospect or mid-round draft pick for Zuccarello’s services. His size is an issue, much like Christian Thomas’ is, but I feel the Rangers’ brass want to hold on to Thomas because of the pure scoring talent he possess (something the varsity club needs) as opposed to the playmaking ability of Zuccarello.
A player that’s on the current roster would have to be Dubinsky. I love the guy as much as any player on the rangers, but he’s making good money and not performing. I’d rather not trade him now because I think you shouldn’t trade a player when his value is this low and I think he can’t turn it around. Right now Dubinsky would be the guy to go.
As a prospect I can see Christian Thomas being shipped out. Not because I don’t think he has the skills, but because I can see management thinking he doesn’t fit the mold of this team. He’s a bit undersized and might not be physical enough for a John Tortorella team. I think Thomas could be a good top 6 player in this league but it might have to be for another team if management doesn’t think he can realistically make the Rangers in 2-3 years.


In terms of current roster players, I would have to say Brandon
Dubinsky. He’s signed long-term to a reasonable contract and has that
leadership aspect to his game that teams absolutely love. I feel that
if another NHL club came to Glen Sather with a shopping list of the
Rangers’ core players, Dubinsky’s perceived value to other teams
versus his inconsistent game would make him the likeliest choice. Of
course, he is one of few realistic left-wing options in New York at
the moment, so it would be difficult to move him unless another left-
winger were coming back.

As for a prospect, at a push I would say Christian Thomas.
Comparatively small and undersized, but with a good goalscoring record
that teams will always be prepared to take a flyer on. McIlrath has
the mean streak, Kreider the skills and speed, and I feel Thomas,
though talented, is probably the odd-man out in terms of the Rangers
best prospects at this point.


I don’t see Glen Sather trading away any of the Rangers’ prized
prospects unless the price is right. That said, I think it’s obvious
that his most attractive piece is Mats Zuccarello. He’s produced
before at an NHL level and the Rangers clearly can’t find him a roster
spot in the NHL that would make him effective again. His time has all
but run out in New York and any scout that’s evaluated him recently
knows he deserves to play again in the big league. Otherwise, Wojtek
Wolski and a draft pick could gain the Rangers some return if they
want to take on a bit of salary. 


I really don’t see anyone pivotal from the pro roster being traded during the season to tell you the truth. Maybe in the offseason I could see a guy like Anisimov going the way of Lauri Korpikoski in Phoenix (considering how often the Rangers make deals with them), but if a substantial trade is going to be made in-season, it would be for prospects/minor leaguers/draft picks I think.

I don’t know if Zuccarello gets traded unless a deal blows the Rangers away. I think his excellent season in Connecticut has earned him one more chance with the big club and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get called up in case of injury down the stretch. 

If it’s going to be anyone, I’d say Thomas. I think the Rangers already have a decent amount of young forwards (Stepan, Hagelin, Kreider possibly next season, Miller a few years from now to name a few), and I’m not sure he still fits into the team’s plans for the future. 

Though there are some deviations, the general consensus seems to be that Brandon Dubinsky, Mats Zuccarello, Artem Anisimov, and  Christian Thomas are the guys most likely to be sent packing should the Rangers make a big move. I tend to agree. I don’t think Dubinsky or Anisimov are going anywhere, though I would hardly be shocked if either was moved in a deal from someone like Ryan Suter or Bobby Ryan. I think Mats Zuccarello is incredibly likely to be sent elsewhere one way or another simply because there doesn’t look to be much of a future for him here. As for Thomas, I think Rangers scouts are high on him but if the Rangers are going to make a big move we’re going to have to give up assets, and I see Thomas as a much easier loss than a Chris Kreider, Tim Erixon, or Dylan McIlrath.

Tags: Artem Anisimov Brandon Dubinsky Christian Thomas CT Whale Mats Zuccarello New York Rangers Rangers Trading Deadline

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