EXCLUSIVE: Colin Stephenson On The Rangers Trade Deadline

Newsday's New York Rangers beat reporter Colin Stephenson shares his extensive thoughts on the moves the club made at the March 8th trade deadline.

New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

A week ago the New York Rangers chose to fill in their roster with assets that could support the team's core in Jack Roslovic, Alex Wennberg, and Chad Ruhwedel.

In turn, general manager Chris Drury chose to protect Kaapo Kakko, Bennan Othmann, and Gabriel Perreault from being included in a trade for rental pieces such as Jake Guentzel.

"They swung for the fences on Jake Guentzel and didn't connect... I assume that means [Drury] offered his first-round pick. I assume [Drury] offered a prospect, whether it was Kakko or someone else I don't know, " said Colin Stephenson of Newsday Sports.

"He did say to us in that conference call that he absolutely would have given up his first-round pick and a prospect for the right deal."

A long and windy road has led to the Rangers finding a dynamic flank for the top line as Roslovic joins Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

"It is a different dynamic because he is a right-hand shooter whereas [Frank] Vatrano and [Vladimir] Tarasenko are left shooters on the right wing and could take one-timers. Early impressions of Roslovic are that he is fast, and is not afraid to shoot the puck. "

As for the Wennberg addition, he has centered Will Cuylle and Kaapo Kakko to create a pure checking line.

"[Wennberg] gives Peter Laviolette the ability to put together a checking line. That's what he was in Seattle... [Laviolette] has some flexibility and versatility that way. I think it's a nice pickup, it's a better fit than I had thought, I'd been a guy that said 'Go get Vatrano and [Adam] Henrique'... but [Wennberg] looks like a really good fit in between Cuylle and Kakko."

Kakko was under the microscope this season following a stint on the LTIR that sidelined him for 21 games. In a year many predicted a breakout from the 23-year-old forward, he struggled, leading to speculation that he would be traded at the March 8th deadline.

"Kakko is a good player. People are impatient and want him to be Jack Hughes. He is certainly not, but he is a good player and [the Rangers] recognized that," said Stephenson.

Now that No. 24 has a role he can excel in and linemates that have the same identity, he is in a position to succeed.