The Rangers have always had an expensive taste when it comes to players throughout the franchises history. Whether that be spending big money when it comes to free agency or selling the farm to land the big name via trade. As things would have it the Rangers are naturally in the eye of the storm again with the rumors that Buffalo will move on from Jack Eichel.
Now don’t misinterpret me here when I say that Jack Eichel is an absolute superstar but right now in this current environment he’s the wrong fit for the New York Rangers. In a time where the salary cap either remaining flat or it will only go up incrementally it’s extremely hard to fit a 10M dollar a year player under the cap. Let’s also not forget that Eichel is one of the best centers in the entire league and Buffalo isn’t going to exactly give away their franchise player just yet.
The asking price for the Rangers to land Eichel will most certainly be steep and not just in terms of draft capital but also in prospects and NHL talent. If I were Kevyn Adams I would most certainly be asking for one of Kaapo Kakko or Alexis Lafreniere, not to mention Filip Chytil, Vitali Kravtsov, or Nils Lundkvist. Lafreniere and Kakko should most likely be non-starters for the Rangers but where it starts to get interesting is Chytil. Everyone knows the Rangers have an issue of depth down the middle so the obvious solution shouldn’t be to trade your young developing center. If by somehow the NYR can land Eichel but it costs Chytil in the deal it’ll also likely signal the end of Mika Zibanejad’s time as a Ranger as well which will deplete the Blueshirts depth even more.
Just for reference, remember when the Rangers acquired Rick Nash? It took moving two of your top 3 centers plus draft capital and that move didn’t vault the Rangers to a Cup like everyone believed it would. While Nash was a really good Ranger, the 2012-2013 Rangers suffered from a lack of quality depth down the middle because they weren’t able to replace what Dubinsky and Anisimov brought to the table. Trading Chytil in any package for Eichel and then losing Zibanejad due to the cap constraints would be nearly the same thing.
Yes, the Blueshirts would acquire a top tier level center in Eichel but again you’re left wondering what they exactly have behind him.
Aside from weakening your already weak center depth, the Rangers should look to steer clear from any potential Eichel deal at this point because a trade for him doesn’t make this team an elite Cup contender. If you have to sacrifice two or three NHL pieces in a trade and then additional pieces due to cap casualties, then how exactly are you supposed to build a contending roster?
It’s not the most popular opinion but right now a trade for Eichel isn’t in the Rangers best interest. You can most certainly improve and become a better team by acquiring better depth centers and not always going after the biggest most shiny toy on the market.
This isn’t like the NBA where superstar players dominate the games, you need complete teams to become champions. It never hurts having top quality talent but most times the last team standing June has the best and most complete all around team. Take a look at prior Cup winners if you don’t believe me, it’s not about having the best top line center, it’s about having the best depth overall down the middle.Embed from Getty Images