The Rangers will find themselves as big buyers at the trade deadline in just two weeks. Whether that means swinging for the fences for the likes of JT Miller or Claude Giroux or multiple additions to bolster depth remains to be seen.
As it always happens the Rangers have been linked to every single big name player presumed to be available at the deadline. While the Rangers have oodles of cap space to use at this years deadline, they likely will not use all of it and add high dollar players with term left on their deals. Simply put, the Rangers have a significant cap crunch looming that Drury will have to navigate. Fans can expect Drury to be heavy into the rental market for players who can contribute the rest of this year and possibly be re-signed on the cheap in the summer.
One of the players that Ranger fans should start familiarizing themselves with is Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp. Copp is going to be a player highly sought after by many contending teams as we move closer to the deadline. He is an impending UFA who will bolster any teams bottom six depth and would be a huge improvement for the Rangers over Filip Chytil, Gregg McKegg, or Kevin Rooney. Copp also offers versatility in the bottom six as he can also play left wing in addition to his role in the pivot spot. This season Copp is currently on pace to obliterate his career high point total of 39 set last year and is also poised to set a new career high in goals. An addition of Copp could allow Drury to dangle Filip Chytil or Julien Gauthier elsewhere to help the club recoup assets. Since Copp’s services will likely be covted by many contenders he likely won’t come cheap but Winnipeg doesn’t have a 2nd round pick in this coming draft and the Rangers currently have two so there could be a trade to be made.
Rickard Rakell is another name that has been connected to the Rangers of late and is another player that makes a lot of sense for Drury to target. Even with the smoke surrounding the Rangers and JT Miller, Vancouver has played themselves back into playoff hope led by Thatcher Demko and that lightly dampens any talk of Miller being moved. The Ducks currently sit four points out of a wild card spot in the west and the 28 year old Rakell is an impending UFA and it doesn’t seem likely he will be brought back at the end of the year. The former two time 30 goal scorer can play both wings which will be a huge plus for the Rangers seeing their current lack of RW depth and can also give time on PP2 and even the penalty kill which can be a huge addition. He’s also played a bit of center in his NHL career which can be useful if the Rangers deem Ryan Strome’s demands on a new contract to be too much they can let him go in favor of a cheaper option in Rakell.
The Rangers as currently built won’t be able to make a deep postseason run without potentially burning out Igor Shesterkin to do it. It’s true that you need star players to win in the playoffs but depth players will certainly be key in being able to be a viable Cup contender and winner. If Drury is able to land these two players it will certainly be a big swing on his part to adjust his third line and make this team more well rounded offensively and defensively. Also giving Gallant a more well rounded roster will help take pressure off of Panarin, Kreider, and Zibanejad and make them even more dangerous during the spring.