Antti Raanta-Jesper Fast-Oscar Lindberg-Trade of Brendan Smith’s rights-Trade with Vegas to take a specific player-Michael Grabner.
Initially, my dream scenario for the expansion draft was GM George McPhee selecting an exposed Nick Holden based on his 11 goals and 30+ points he put up in 16-17. Well, since the Rangers ended up protecting Holden after buying Dan Girardi out of his contract, the Rangers will be forced to lose a player who makes a positive impact.
Antti Raanta is now the guy I want Vegas to take. He’s a very good backup and does have some trade value, but backup goalies can be acquired for nothing and Benoit Allaire could literally turn me into a reliable goalie.
Jesper Fast is second because the Rangers are so deep at the wing that he can be replaced. I love what the kid brings to the table but the Rangers could call up Boo Nieves who can play the same role.
Oscar Lindberg is as solid a fourth line center as they come. He was awesome in the playoffs and while healthy, he can definitely play a great two-way game. It wouldn’t kill the Rangers if they lost him but it wouldn’t be great either.
The Rangers need to do anything they can to make sure Brendan Smith comes back next season. If Vegas drafts his rights, it doesn’t mean he has to sign there but I don’t want to take that risk.
There is only one player that I would give up significant assets–a second-round pick and a prospect or something of that nature–and that’s Michael Grabner. Speed kills, and much like Carl Hagelin used to do, he makes the offensive depth go. Also, he gets at least a breakaway a game so maybe the offense isn’t completely unsustainable. Losing him is the absolute worst case scenario.