After making the trades for Vladimir Tarasenko, Niko Mikkola, and Tyler Motte, the Rangers have addressed many of their needs. They got their top-six winger, a solid third-paring defenseman, and an upgrade on the fourth line. With the deadline coming up on March 3rd, the Rangers could still have one more move to make.
Many feel that they need to upgrade their fourth line more, but some feel that they can still make a big move and acquire Patrick Kane from the Blackhawks. While this would be tricky to pull off, it is still possible. However, it is very unlikely that the Rangers add Kane after making the trade for Tarasenko.
The argument for making a trade for Kane is that the Rangers still have a hole in their top six on the right wing since The Kid Line is playing together. Tarasenko filled one spot, but the other spot is still being played by players like Jimmy Vesey and Barclay Goodrow. While they are fine players, they are not top-six players. If Tarasenko sticks on the line with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad are lacking that top right-winger.
That’s where Kane could come in and he could fill that hole and could bring more star-power to the Rangers and make them a more dangerous team. This would be great but would be very tricky to pull off due to the Rangers’ lack of cap space.
There have been many other posts by hockey insiders and Rangers writers about how a Kane trade could be pulled off, so I won’t be going into major details on that. The main points to take away are that the Rangers would need to waive Jake Leschyshyn, trade Vitali Kravtsov and get a third team to retain part of Kane’s salary.
This would be the same as the Leafs did for the Ryan O’Reilly trade. They got the Wild to retain part of his salary by giving them a late-round pick. The Rangers could do all of this, but they would still have to give up a big package for Kane. Do the Rangers really want to give up another first-round pick or a top prospect for a rental? Not likely.
The more likely option for the Rangers is using their remaining cap space to solidify their fourth line. They could use another center who can win face-offs and who plays the gritty style of game that players like Motte, Goodrow, and Vesey play. Players like Nick Bonino and Nick Bjugstad have been linked to the Rangers and could be the kind of players that best fit into that role.
While the idea of Patrick Kane as a New York Ranger would be exciting, it is less likely to happen due to the trades made already by the Rangers. They gave up their assets and have very little cap space and will not want to make it more complicated by trying to get a player like Kane. Look for the Rangers to acquire one more depth forward and maybe trade Kravtsov by the deadline. Other than that, the Rangers’ big-time shopping is over.