Brendan Smith’s negotiating rights-Antti Raanta-Michael Grabner-Jesper Fast-Oscar Lindberg-Bribe Las Vegas to take Kevin Klein
Much of the excitement surrounding Wednesday’s Las Vegas expansion draft centered on its potential to spur trades. But the Rangers made no major deals before submitting their protected list. Barring a surprise agreement with Las Vegas, the expansion draft offers little more than a minor inconvenience.
Brendan Smith’s negotiating rights hold little value. While Smith played well in his limited stint with the Rangers, he is not the top pairing defenseman they desperately covet.
Antti Raanta is an excellent backup goalie, but he has no long-term future in New York. The Rangers should sell high on Raanta this offseason if Vegas doesn’t bite.
Michael Grabner made huge, unexpected offensive contributions to the 16-17 squad. But Grabner probably doesn’t match those numbers and is only a year from free agency.
Jesper Fast’s dogged puck pursuit game and cost-controlled restricted free agent status should attract Vegas’ interest. Losing the checking winger would hurt, but the Rangers do have wing depth.
Restricted free agent center Oscar Lindberg has a tantalizing two-way game. I dread Vegas taking him more than any other unprotected player, which is why they’ll do just that.
The Rangers could try to bribe the Golden Knights to take Kevin Klein. Vegas have no reason accept unless New York offers something more significant than any unprotected player.