How different will the New York Rangers be after the NHL trade deadline?

Anaheim Ducks v San Jose Sharks
Anaheim Ducks v San Jose Sharks / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The next time the New York Rangers take the ice, they might look a lot different. With the NHL trade deadline on Friday, it is up to Chris Drury and company to make the moves necessary to bolster New York's roster.

The Rangers are a good hockey team, but there are holes in the roster -- they could use another bottom-six center and still have not found a right winger for Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider and also might add some more depth pieces. All of this has to be adressed come Friday.

New York's holes were apparent in a loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. While it was an even game, there were times when the Rangers could not keep up with Florida, who is one of the most complete teams in the league. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin gave up an easy goal for the first time in a while, which won't happen often, along with some other things, but the Panthers are at the top of the league for a reason. The Rangers can be there -- and they see Florida again on March 23 -- and don't be surprised if they look different.

Who can it be? Let's look into some options.

It starts with the gaping hole at right wing next to Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Both have been struggling at even strength for quite a while right now, and the solution to this is a linemate who can score and make plays (obviously). This could be some familiar faces: according to sources, New York has looked into bringing back Frank Vatrano, who is having a career season in Anaheim (29 G, 19A).

Vatrano was part of the Rangers team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2022, and he is going to have a steep price. The Rangers and Ducks have been in contact about him, and he would be under team control for another whole year with a $3.65M cap hit. But, reports say New York is not willing to move on from Kaapo Kakko, who has been asked about in some trade negotiations, and their 2024 draft pick.

If Vatrano is not the option, there are some other options at right wing. Starting with familiar faces -- the Rangers could bring back Vladimir Tarasenko, who was a fan-favorite last year, Anthony Duclair, who started is career with New York, or some others. There are a lot of ways New York can go, and obviously, it's up to Chris Drury.

Another area that Drury might address is a bottom-six center. Reports say the Rangers are in contact about Seattle's Alex Wennberg, who only has 25 points this season but would fill the third-center vacancy left by Filip Chytil's season-ending injury. Adam Henrique is another option.

Do the Rangers need a third-line center? Probably, but in the mean time, they've been making due. Johnny Brodzinski has 15 points in 43 games and got a well-deserved one-way contract extension, but questions remain about whether he can be a mainstay come playoff time. If New York acquires a center, Brodzinski can move to the fourth line or wing, providing some depth.

What is the ideal Rangers forward lineup come Saturday's game against the St. Louis Blues? Maybe something like this:

Kreider-Zibanejad-Vatrano/Tarasenko/Duclair/someone else




Again, this is purely hypothetical. Anything is possible come the NHL trade deadline. But, expect the Rangers to have at least one new player come Saturday's game at Madison Square Garden. Everything, from the Metropolitan Division standings to reports saying Chris Drury is ready to go all-in, says the Blueshirts will make a move.

Buckle up and we'll see how this week unfolds.