With the trade deadline just three days away, it appears that Chris Drury is dangling the New York Rangers’ best asset, cap space, in an effort to improve the team. Meanwhile, the trade market is heating up with Claude Giroux the hottest topic of the rumor mill.
One interesting tidbit came from a reporter for the Crossing Broad website.
The report that Giroux told the Flyers he wasn’t interested in going to Boston or New York (surprised?) and that is down to a battle between Florida and Colorado. While Giroux would have been a stellar addition to the Rangers lineup, the odds that he would end up at the Garden were always slim to none.
Meanwhile, in Elliotte Friedman’s 32 Thoughts column, here was item number 17:
17. The Rangers have shown interest in Dallas’s Alexander Radulov.
What gives? This isn’t the first time his name was linked to the Rangers. Back in 2016 when he made his return to the NHL, there was chatter about him signing in New York. He ended up in Montreal and then Dallas where he scored 27 and 29 goals. Unfortunately, this season his numbers are pretty sad at three goals, 16 assists and a plus/minus of -14.
That’s where the cap comes in. If Dallas wants to make a deadline move, they need to get rid of some salary dead weight and at over $6 million, Radulov is exactly that. The Rangers could take him off their hands allowing the Stars to get some help. They are one point behind Vegas for the final wild card spot in the West.
Remember, by trading Frank Vatrano to the Blueshirts, it gave Florida the cap space to trade for Ben Chiarot.
Could Drury trade a fourth round pick and a defense prospect like Hunter Skinner to Dallas for Radulov’s salary, but also get an NHL-ready young center like Riley Damiani, Jordan Kawaguchi or Jacob Peterson?
While Radulov is past his prime and not have a great season, adding him wouldn’t hurt the Rangers bottom six depth and they don’t have to play him. Interesting.
If anyone is hoping for Vitali Kravtsov to make a miraculous return to New York to lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup, think again. The NHL suspended all contact with the KHL and Russian agents this week. What that means for Kravtsov, who is represented by Dan Milstein, is unknown. He’s still under contract to the Rangers and on loan to Traktor, so he theoretically could return when Traktor’s season ends.
Traktor lost the first game of their second round series in the KHL playoffs, so the could be available as early as next week. They play again on Saturday. It Traktor goes down 2-0 and Millstein can persuade an NHL team that he could be an asset soon, it may help Drury pull the trigger on a deal.
Alexandar Georgiev gets one of the starts this weekend against Tampa or Carolina and you can be sure that Vegas will be watching that game very closely. The Golden Knights are one point from falling out of a wild card spot and the word is that Robin Lehner may be out for the season though there is conflicting info on that.
Vegas broke a five-game losing streak last night against the Panthers with Logan Thompson in net. Their number one goalie, Laurent Brossoit has won twice in his last 11 starts, allowing 34 goals in that span.
If Georgiev can put up a good showing this weekend, it may tempt the Golden Knights to see if he is the answer to their goaltending woes. They still have massive cap issues and will have to dump salary when Mark Stone is ready to come of IR. Reilly Smith is still a name that has been mentioned early and often.
With Tomas Hertl and Ben Chiarot off the list, the roster of usual suspects remains. Rickard Rakell is a name most often linked to New York. Anaheim’s Max Comtois is the latest added to the rumor mill. He has another year at a $2 million AAV before becoming a RFA and is a year away from a 16 goal season (55 games). He was a pain in the game in New York Tuesday.
Which brings us back to Claude Giroux. You can be sure that Chris Drury would be happy to help either Florida or Colorado clear cap space so that they can take him on and his $8 million salary.
If none of this comes about, the Rangers have proved that they are a team that can be competitive in the playoffs just because of Shesterkin, Kreider, Fox, Panarin and ZIbanejad. This weekend will give us a better perspective on how competitive they are.
Stay tuned. Besides the games against Tampa and Carolina, it will be an interesting three days.