The Rangers were very quiet at the deadline- should they have done more?
The 2021 NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and the New York Rangers were awfully quiet.
The biggest move they made came before the deadline on March 27 when they traded LW Brendan Lemieux to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2021 fourth-round pick, a bargain.
It can be said the Rangers’ deadline acquisitions were rookies.
By trading away Lemieux, the Rangers cleared up space to incorporate right wing prospect Vitaly Kravtsov into the lineup. Kravtsov has now played in five NHL games and looks like the real deal.
The Rangers have yet another impressive kid on the way in Zac Jones, a left-handed defenseman who signed his ECL on Tuesday morning.
Jones just won the Hockey East Championship and 2021 NCAA Championship as a key player with the University of Massachusetts.
He’s already staking with the Rangers and isn’t required to quarantine, so he’ll likely make his debut relatively soon (probably as as a replacement for Libor Hájek on the third pairing).
Jones will be burning the first year of his ECL by joining the Rangers. However, it’s evident that the Rangers have been incredibly impressed with him and don’t want to see him become a free agent in two years.
Jones’ likely defensive partner, Brendan Smith, was the likeliest trade candidate on the Rangers, but the team clearly values the depth he brings to the team and, more importantly, the intangibles such as his veteran leadership and the fact that he’s a great locker room presence.
Smith will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
RHD Tony DeAngelo was back in the news, as well. The Montreal Canadiens were interested in acquiring DeAngelo, but didn’t want to have to pay him $5 million next year (per Elliotte Friedman on 31 Thoughts).
Ideally, they wanted DeAngelo and the Rangers to agree to a contract termination so they could then sign him to a new deal, but DeAngelo refused.
NYR were willing to mutually terminate Tony DeAngelo’s contract to allow him to pass through waivers and sign as a free agent. Montreal believed to very interested as early as this weekend. However, DeAngelo opted not to accept. He will be bought out of his contract this summer.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 12, 2021
It’s evident that DeAngelo is betting on himself and believes better opportunities will be available to him during the offseason after the Rangers buy him out then.
The Rangers were quiet this year, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do anything.
They freed up space and money by getting rid of Lemieux, kept a great guy to have around in Smith, and have welcomed Kravtsov to the team and will do the same to Jones soon.
This is a team that’s building internally towards success. They’ve done an excellent job thus far and making any significant moves, whether buying or selling, wouldn’t have made much sense.
The Rangers should keep at it and will likely see their window open sooner rather than later.