For the last few years the Rangers have been among the big movers and shakers when it came to the NHL’s trade deadline. Whether it was the team making splashes and trading for Keith Yandle or when the franchise infamously sent out their letter announcing their intention to rebuild (which was mocked at the time but a number of teams have since followed in their footsteps) and sold off players like Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Kevin Hayes. This year though should be different for the Broadway Blueshirts.
Thanks to a flat cap and so many teams wondering if they’re in the playoff mix or not, we should expect to see a bit of a duller trade deadline than we’re used to. With there being so many potential buyers and not enough sellers the market just might not be there.
The Rangers also find themselves in a weird spot in the standings where they’re not in the playoffs but they’re not necessarily out either. You simply cannot expect the Rangers to go into this deadline being a seller in any way other than in small moves, if they make any at all.
Before the season one of the few pieces many thought we could have seen moved is Pavel Buchnevich. During the season his play has elevated to a level where the Rangers now have to wonder if they can afford to not keep him. Buchnevich is a player that a lot of contending teams would love to get their hands on due to his high end offensive skill. Coupled with his fantastic skill he’s also become one of the Rangers best penalty killers. Even more attractive would be his pending RFA status where he will definitely be due for a nice raise but still has some constraints that favor a GM in the negotiating room. The Rangers going into the season probably had thought about moving Buchnevich at the deadline for a pretty high draft pick and maybe a couple prospects but now with his increased ice time usage and presence on the roster it makes no sense to move him.
If you’re not moving Buchnevich then who are you moving off this roster? The only logical name that leaps forward is Brendan Smith. You’re not going to get a lot for Smith, definitely not the price you paid to get him (two 2nd round picks), but if you can manage to land a 5th and a 7th for a clearly diminished asset then bravo. Smith is on an expiring contract and teams constantly say you can’t have enough depth as you march to the playoffs. Smith also plays with an edge that many playoff teams could find attractive as well. Libor Hajek and Brett Howden are two others that may be potential moves but with not much to showcase for either what exactly would a return for them be other than clearing roster space on the team.
Unless a deal that’s too good to be true drops into Jeff Gorton’s lap, Blueshirts fans should expect Monday to be a very bland day.Embed from Getty Images