The New York Rangers will be busy at the trade deadline. With lots of options, the question remains: What moves will be made?
The New York Rangers find themselves at a crossroads. With Monday’s trade deadline on the horizon, the Blueshirts sit within striking distance of a wild card spot in the dogfight that is the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
While it would be a nice morale-boost for the no-longer-rebuilding Rangers to sneak into the playoffs, the Boys in Blue aren’t legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. It would be foolish for Jeff Gorton to let the current playoff-race affect his trade deadline plans. The Blueshirts will still be sellers.
But who will they sell? Here are my predictions for who will be staying and who will be going at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline.
Although Chris Kreider represents New York’s most attractive trade-chip, I think that Jeff Gorton and John Davidson will find a way to lock him up long-term. I believe that the bidding war that the Rangers were hoping would ensue will never come to fruition, and the return in a deal for the lifelong-Blueshirt will fail to outweigh the benefit to keeping him on Broadway.
For this reason, the front office will find a way to extend Kreider, who will end up taking a hometown-discount.
Final Prediction: Kreider signs a 6-year, $39 million extension with the Rangers.
With Kreider re-signed, the Blueshirts will look to clear cap-space elsewhere. This will ultimately result in Jesper Fast’s departure. The Rangers would love to re-sign Fast, but they will not be able to offer the defensive-minded Swede the raise that he has earned.
As a rental option on the trade market, Fast, who has plenty of experience and is any coach’s dream, will have lots of value which Jeff Gorton will look to exploit. I believe that the 28-year-old’s days on Broadway are numbered.
Final Prediction: Fast reunites with Alain Vigneault, as he is dealt to the Flyers for a second-round pick.
Alexandar Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist:
Neither of New York’s backup goalies is going anywhere just yet. The interest in Alexandar Georgiev isn’t as high as expected, yet Jeff Gorton is in no hurry and he won’t move the promising netminder for pennies on the dollar.
On the other hand, Henrik Lundqvist’s contract renders him simply untradeable. The Rangers will let the three-goalie-drama take its course until the offseason, where it is looking increasingly likely that “The King” will be bought-out. My bet is that the Blueshirts roll with a tandem of Shesterkin and Georgiev come the 2020-21 campaign.
Final Prediction: Neither goaltender is dealt, but Henrik Lundqvist is bought out this summer while Alexandar Georgiev re-signs.
Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome:
With both Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome having career-years, the Rangers will have some tough decisions to make with these pending RFAs. Because of their status as restricted free agents, I think the Blueshirts will hold onto both of them and figure things out in June.
While the front office would love to retain Strome and DeAngelo, that may not be possible with the team’s current salary-cap situation.
Final Prediction: Strome and DeAngelo are both re-signed this summer.
Brady Skjei may end up being the odd man out for the Blueshirts. The Rangers will be forced to part with someone being paid a large sum of money, and it looks like Skjei could be that guy. The 25-year-old has not emerged as the player he looked like he might become, yet he still has value on the trade market as a solid second-pair blue-liner. If Skjei isn’t dealt by Monday, I think he’ll be moved this summer.