New York Rangers Must be Open to Selling at the Trade Deadline
The New York Rangers are consistently among the biggest buyers at the NHL Trade Deadline. It’s no surprise considering their competing for top playoff positioning, but this year must be different. In the past, it’s been buy-buy-buy for New York. This year must be a combination of buying and selling.
If it is possible for a team to have too much offensive depth, the New York Rangers have it. The following forwards are NHL ready when healthy:
Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel, Derek Stepan, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello, Nicklas Jensen, Justin Fontaine, Marek Hrivik, Cristoval Nieves, and the case can be made for Adam Tambellini as well. Including Tambellini, that is 19 players for 12 forward spots.
Let’s break them down.
Definites: Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello.
On the Fringe: Oscar Lindberg, Marek Hrivik, Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel.
Can be Fine Fourth Liners: Nicklas Jensen, Cristoval Nieves.
Unknowns: Justin Fontaine, Adam Tambellini.
New York boasts 11 players that belong in the lineup without question. That leaves one lineup spot open for eight other players. Of course the Rangers will deal with their fair share of injuries, so it is important the team keeps at least 14 options.
Doing so would still allow the Rangers to move three or four forwards and have fine depth. Sure, New York loses comfort in turning to a Justin Fontaine or Adam Tambellini, but they would be in case of a multitude of injuries.
The point is, the Rangers have a tremendous amount of depth, and most NHL teams do not have a tremendous amount of depth. Smart teams use such advantages to better their present and/or future.
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While the Rangers are looking to compete for the Stanley Cup this season, trading from the non “definites” category does not preclude them from doing so. Even trading a Jesper Fast from the definities would not harm much, as the Rangers have the depth to replace him.
Rather than losing forwards to waivers or watching them go unused for the final stretch of the season, New York must look to capitalize on every asset they have. Oscar Lindberg must be shopped around for draft picks, Brandon Pirri must be marketed as a power-play specialist available for the right price.
The moves would be minor for sure, but minor moves can bring back major assets. Remember, Henrik Lundqvist was a seventh round draft pick.
While all the talk has been about who the Rangers should acquire at this year’s deadline, do not sleep on who they must trade. The forward depth is ready to be pulled from.
Stay tuned in the coming days for additional Trade Deadline coverage.