As of this writing, the NHL Trade Deadline is 24 days away and the New York Rangers are going to be buyers again for the second straight year. The team is currently third in the Metropolitan Division and is 6 points behind the New Jersey Devils for second place.
As the team looks to continue their winning ways going into the deadline, the question now is what the Rangers need to add. The team has almost all the pieces in place to go on a deep run in the playoffs, but they still need to add a few more players in order for them to go back to the Conference Final and beyond. What do they need and what can the Rangers give up in order to acquire these pieces?
The first piece the Rangers need to acquire by the deadline is another right winger who can play in the top six. If Gerard Gallant wants to keep the Kid Line together, the team can not have Jimmy Vesey and Barclay Goodrow playing in the top six on a consistent basis. There will be plenty of players available to fill that role and the Rangers should have an interest in all of them.
The big three names that have surfaced as potential fits are Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Timo Meier. These are big-name players who will cost the Rangers a big price to get. All three players are going to become free agents this summer(Meier will be an RFA) and they will most likely just be rentals who walk in free agency. If the Rangers were to trade for one of these players, who should it be?
The name that the fanbase is most split on is Patrick Kane. We all know the chemistry he has with Artemi Panarin and reuniting them on the Rangers could be magical. However, it could also not be what many fans are expecting. Kane is having a down season on a bad Blackhawks team, but he is also playing through an injury that could require surgery after the season. Do the Rangers really want to give up assets for an injured player in the twilight of his career? Not likely.
Rangers fans are really pushing for Meier to become a Ranger because he is young and fits the team’s current core and fans are willing to give up assets for him. However, Meier will cost a lot to resign and the Rangers will have limited cap space this summer. Would it be worth it to trade for Meier and then trade him for less in the summer? It might be a risk worth taking.
The player who would be the best fit is Tarasenko from the Blues. He is a UFA and would cost the least of the three players named. He is having a down season on a bad Blues team, but having him and Panarin on the same line could be a deadly duo. If it costs the team Vitali Kravtsov and a second-round pick, do the Rangers pull the trigger? It seems like the more likely option than trading for Kane or Meier. The Rangers will also be in the market for a depth defenseman, similar to Justin Braun last year. It won’t cost much and would be beneficial to have because the Rangers lack depth on the back end.
By the time March 3 rolls around, there could be a few new names on the team. It could be someone mentioned here, or even a player that has not been talked about. All we know is the Rangers will be busy and should look to fill these gaps as they push for the playoffs.