Rangers news & rumors with 1 week to the trade deadline

Mar 12, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) and defenseman Adam Fox (23) and center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates a goal scored by Zibanejad against the Dallas Stars during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) and defenseman Adam Fox (23) and center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates a goal scored by Zibanejad against the Dallas Stars during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

With the trade deadline just one week away, it is crunch time for Chris Drury and the New York Rangers.  Aside from the Tyler Toffoli deal, there hasn’t been much action on the trade front and it looks like it will go down to the wire.

That makes sense for New York as the Rangers’ GM has to decide how close the Blueshirts are to making a real impact in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Standing pat is a very practical option as Drury can look to just add to the team’s depth. Then again, he could swing for the fences.

Important games coming up

One thing is for sure. The next four games will help determine Drury’s plan of action.  The Rangers take on the stumbling Anaheim Ducks in the dreaded “first game back from a long road trip” on Tuesday.   On Thursday, it’s a game against the Islanders, a team that is not going to make the postseason, but has been playing well and always causes problems for the Blueshirts.

The most important games will be the final two before the deadline, on the road in Tampa and Carolina. If the Rangers can beat or at least be competitive with those two potential playoff opponents, Drury may decide to be very aggressive.

Since the extended All-Star break, the Rangers have played six teams currently in a  playoff position and have split them, going 2-3 in regulation and winning one (vs Boston) in a shootout.  Perhaps the most important game in that stretch was the 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh, a road game in which they matched the intensity and skill level of their potential first round opponents and could have won.

Kakko’s status

There are some things we just don’t know and perhaps the most important is the status of Kaapo Kakko.  He hasn’t played since January 21 and we have no idea what is wrong with him, except the vague “upper body injury” description.  He was photographed with a cast on his left hand so the assumption is a wrist injury, but no one really knows.

If Kakko is not expected back at 100%, it could force Drury’s hand.

A market for Georgiev?

With Igor Shesterkin the Rangers have the best goalie in the NHL, despite the setbacks on the road trip.  The question in net concerns the backup.   The word is that Drury is looking to deal an unhappy Alexandar Georgiev, but has found few takers.  That situation will get clearer in the next week as there are a few teams in desperate need of help in net.

The Vegas Golden Knights are in a free fall and are relying on Lauren Brossoit and Logan Thompson with Robin Lehner out.   If the Rangers were willing to retain salary, would they be open to taking the gamble that Georgiev could lift his game to where it was in the past?   The Knights are still in cap hell and could this be a trade that includes pending UFA Reilly Smith?

The other goalies mentioned as trade bait are Anton Forsberg of Ottawa and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Blackhawks.   Other teams in need of netminding help include Edmonton,  Toronto and Washington, but Drury would prefer to deal Georgiev out of the Eastern Conference.

Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported that Georgiev just changed agents, whatever that means.

Who would be the backup?

One big question for the Rangers would be who would be the backup goalie in New York if Georgiev is dealt. Keith Kinkaid would be the natural first choice considering his 167 games of NHL experience.   However, he has been slumping a bit in Hartford, losing four of his last six starts, allowing 20 goals.

Adam Huska has been playing better with a 5-2-2 record in his last nine starts, allowing only 18 goals in those nine games.

The question is whether the Rangers would be confident with a rookie like Huska as their primary back up.

Of course, if Igor Shesterkin suffers any kind of injury that will keep him out of action late in the season and the playoffs, you can write off the Rangers playoff hopes.  That’s just a fact.


For what it’s worth, two players whose names have been mentioned as potential Rangers trade targets were injured over the weekend. Coyotes’ defenseman Jakob Chychrun left his last game with a lower body injury.   Center Andrew Copp of Winnipeg might have suffered his second concussion after a hit from Oskar Sundkvist of St. Louis.

Buyer beware.

Other notes

The Rangers returned Tim Gettinger to Hartford.  He has played eight games for New York this season averaging just over nine minutes per game.  While he hasn’t scored, he has played a responsible game and has used his big body.  He’s still not the answer.

Nils Lundkvist may have figured out North American hockey. After notching only one assist in his first nine games with the Wolf Pack,  in his last 13 games he has three goals and 12 points and has become a force on the power play.

At the minimum, he is raising his trade value and currently sits in 52nd place in TSN’s trade bait list.

Wearing #13, Lundkvist had one goal and three assists in 25 games with the Rangers at the start of the season, playing about 14 minutes per game with a plus/minus rating of +4.  Not awful numbers for a rookie making his debut in the NHL.

Keep an eye on

When the Anaheim Ducks come to town, they have three players who could be potential trade targets for the Blueshirts.  They are winger Rickard Rakell and defensemen Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm.

The Rangers have been mentioned as interested in forwards Max Domi of Columbus, Calle Jarnkrok of Seattle, Tyler Motte of Vancouver and Artturi Lehkonen of Montreal.  Of course, the home run would be Tomas Hertl, the epitome of a playoff rental the team could not afford to keep, but San Jose is still trying to extend him.  All of these players will be UFA’s this summer except Lehkonen (RFA) and are playing on teams outside of the playoff bubble.

The trade deadline is Monday, March 21 at 3pm EST.

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