The Rangers could turn to an old rival for help before the trade deadline.
The New York Rangers are in a great position to make a run in the postseason this year. Entering Wednesday, the Rangers are third in the Metropolitan Division, four points behind division-leading Pittsburgh but with two games in-hand on the Pens.
They have identified their goaltender for the future and have a good young core developing around established stars. But there are a few holes they could look to fill before the NHL trade deadline.
And rumors are swirling around a deal with their long-time rival in Montreal.
Keep an eye on the Rangers and the Habs between now and March 21. I think Montreal covets some Rangers prospects. Habs could fill some Rangers needs. Montreal would rather add prospects over picks. Already have 12 picks for the July draft. Rangers' pipeline drawing Habs interest
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 16, 2022
Looking for a wing man
The Rangers would likely be in the market for someone who can help them at right wing. And while a rental is always possible (see Dominik Kubalik in Chicago), the right player with the right term and cost left on his contract isn’t out of the question.
And Montreal has a few veterans who could be intriguing for the Rangers.
We’re going to assume the three forwards on Montreal’s payroll with significant term — Nick Suzuki, Josh Anderson and Brendan Gallagher — are off the table. But there are other names to look at when thinking about the dot-connecting between these two organizations.
- Mike Hoffman, 32, has two more years with a $4.5 million AAV.
- Joel Armia, 28, has three more years on his contract with a $3.4 million AAV.
- Artturi Lehkonen, 26, is an RFA after this season. His contract has a $2.3 million cap hit.
- Cédric Paquette, 28, in a UFA after this season; his deal has a $950,000 cap hit.
- Jonathan Drouin, 26, is currently on injured reserve. His deal has one more year with a $5.5 million AAV.
All five of these players could fill a right wing need for the Rangers.
On the NHL roster, 22-year old center Filip Chytil has been mentioned enough to think he would be available if the right deal presented itself.
The name that is and will continue to be front and center in any/all Rangers trade rumors is Vitali Kravtsov, whose KHL season has ended.
On the blue line, the Rangers have some young depth they could consider including. Libor Hájek and Zach Jones are named the Canadiens may be interested in being part of a deal.
Up front, Justin Richards and Austin Rueschhoff are a couple young players with expiring deals that could be prospects of interest for Montreal. Patrick Khodorenko, 23, is a young center with one more year of control.
Montreal has already traded one of their better players, forward Tyler Toffoli. He was dealt to the Flames for Calgary’s 2022 first round pick (top-10 protected), Calgary’s 2023 fifth round pick, forward Tyler Pitlick and the rights to 20-year-old unsigned forward Emil Heineman (who was a second-round pick by Florida in 2020 originally).
Heineman is currently playing overseas and has 39 points in 88 games with two clubs in the SHL.