It’s the offseason which means this is the time for fans to make crazy trade scenarios that will most likely never happen, but are fun to think about nonetheless. The one player on the Rangers that fans want to see traded is Artemi Panarin. His second straight disappointing playoff performance plus the fact that he makes over $11.5 million for the next two seasons is plenty enough reasons for some Ranger fans to want to see him gone.
While this is not likely to happen due to Panarin having a No-Move Clause(NMC) in his contract, it doesn’t mean that we can’t speculate about what a trade could look like and where he could go. While many teams can’t afford his salary, one team that can is the Anaheim Ducks. They are entering this summer with over $39 million in cap space, so they could make it work without any problems.
The Ducks also have something that other teams don’t, Ryan Strome. We know how well Strome played with Panarin and if trade talks were to occur, could we see them reunite in the Black and Orange?
If the Rangers were to trade Panarin, they would obviously be giving up the best player so many won’t see them as the winners of a potential deal unless it’s another top-end player coming back. With the Ducks, they have plenty of young stars and none of them would be an option for the Rangers. So this proposal will not include the likes of Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, or Jamie Drysdale. This deal will also not include any of the Ducks’ top prospects as they are still a rebuilding team.
While Panarin would definitely give them a boost just like it did when he signed with the Rangers, they still want to stay the course. This deal would likely include players who could help the Rangers win now and also players who could use a change of scenery. Maybe a draft pick of two as well, but the Rangers want to win now, so that is the focus of this proposal.
The first player that would be coming back in the deal would be former Ranger, Frank Vatrano. He is signed for two more seasons at $3.650 and he is of course familiar with what it’s like to play as a New York Ranger. He was very good in his short time here and while he’s not the best replacement for Panarin, this trade isn’t about getting his replacement.
It’s about trading away his cap and bringing in players and assets that can help fill out the team and that could be used in other trades to help improve the team. The next player coming back in the deal is Max Comtois. He is currently an RFA and is 24 years old. He fits the mold of a player who could use a change of scenery as his time with the Ducks hasn’t been anything special. He is a tough player who plays with an edge that the Rangers are lacking.
He isn’t the greatest offensive player, with a career-high 33 points, but he brings other elements the Rangers have very little of. Again, these aren’t the biggest names who will have a big impact, but they are players who would help fill out the Rangers and would allow them to get other players with the cap space freed from trading Panarin.
The next question to answer is why would Panarin agree to go to the Ducks. They are not close to winning and will probably be in a rebuild for the remainder of his deal. However, there are some positives he could take from this trade. He would be living in California for starters. Great weather and a great place for his family. He would also be reunited with one of his best friends in Strome. They played extremely well together and Panarin has his best seasons playing with him.
They were called “Bread and Butter” because they went together so well. That is a major reason why he could waive his NMC. It’s not just Strome who’s there either. He would be joining a group of extremely talented young players like Zegras and Terry and he could fit in well with them.
They are all great offensive players and their games would benefit from playing with a guy like Panarin. Panarin’s game could be rejuvenated by playing with such young and hungry players. It could be a good scenario for him to end up in.
The New York Rangers have an interesting summer ahead of them. For now, all we can do is speculate and make trade scenarios like this one. While this likely will never happen, it is fun to think about the possibility because this team needs change. A trade like this would bring that change and it would also be good for the player who they are trading. We have a long summer ahead of us and remember, if Wayne Gretzky can get traded, Panarin can get traded.