Kevin Klein through a trade -Jesper Fast-Oscar Lindberg-Antti Raanta-Brendan Smith’s negotiating rights-Michael Grabner
The New York Rangers’ protected list is final, and we now know that Nick Holden is protected. Additionally, the Rangers don’t have a deal in place to protect any players. The likelihood that Vegas takes a good player is high.
Klein getting taken is obviously the best outcome. He’s probably retiring, and even if he doesn’t, he won’t have a spot in the Rangers’ top-six this year. Losing him only helps the Rangers. Losing Jesper Fast would hurt more, but he’s a utility player. While Fast is good in his role, there are plenty of replacements out there who can play on the fourth line.
Oscar Lindberg is where things start to hurt more. Lindberg is a superb fourth-line center, with the ability to play on the third line if needed. Losing him hurts the Rangers’ center depth, and they’ll need to trade or sign a free agent to replenish that depth.
At this point, Raanta would be most useful in a trade to bring back draft picks. Vegas will be sorely tempted to take the talented backup, and the Rangers would be hard-pressed to find the same kind of value in other options.
Brendan Smith, meanwhile, is exactly the kind of player the Rangers need to revamp the defense for next year. Lastly, Grabner’s speed and penalty killing are extremely valuable, and fit in well with the mixture of speed and skill throughout their four lines.