8:42 AM: Today at 3PM is the 2020-21 NHL Trade deadline.
The Rangers are not expected to be overly active ahead of the deadline, but Darren Dreger says that the Rangers are one of a number of teams that may use their cap space to help facilitate a trade for another team in exchange for a draft pick.
The Rangers have nearly $10 million in trade deadline cap space. (CapFriendly)
- The Rangers pending UFA’s are: Phil Do Giuseppe, Brendan Smith, Jack Johnson (injured) and Jonny Brodzinski.
- The Rangers pending RFA’s are: Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier, Brett Howden, Ryan Lindgren, Libor Hajek and Igor Shesterkin.
Kevin Rooney, Colin Blackwell, Anthony Bitetto and Keith Kinkaid are all signed through next season and all meet the requirements to be exposed in the Seattle Expansion draft. Julien Gauthier or Brett Howden will likely also be exposed.
Larry Brooks wrote in the NY Post that nothing is expected in regards to a Tony DeAngelo trade and that DeAngelo will either be picked by Seattle in the expansion draft or bought out.
Elliotte Friedman wrote earlier this month that he thinks the Rangers are “still a few months away from making their biggest decisions.” (Sportsnet)
Adam Rotter: It’s certainly a change of pace for the Rangers after they have been at the core of the last three deadlines. In 2018 it was the first sell off of the rebuild, in 2019 it was Zuccarello and Hayes and last year was all about Chris Kreider before he ultimately re-signed and then the Rangers sent Brady Skjei to Carolina.
The Rangers are neither buyers or sellers at this deadline, though they have added Vitali Kravtsov for their playoff push. The Rangers could probably move Brendan Smith for a late round pick, but I think that the team may see more value in keeping him around as a mentor for the young players and possibly even re-sign him in the offseason for a lot less money. That is really about it, though I’m sure some teams have inquired about Colin Blackwell. If someone were to offer a high enough pick then the Rangers might move Blackwell, but they want to make a playoff push and Blackwell has been one of their more consistent players lately.
As for the big decisions the Rangers have to make this summer, they mostly revolve around a possible extension for Mika Zibanejad and a new/next contract for Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich has turned into a dependable two-way player, but Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov are right behind him on the depth chart. How long and for how much will the Rangers want to commit when they know they have two of their top young players right behind Buchnevich.
With Zibanejad, their decision on him could be the one that impacts the franchise for the next number of years. If the Rangers lock up Zibanejad then they are unlikely to go after Jack Eichel in a trade or potentially Aleksander Barkov as a UFA after next season. If they decide not to extend Zibanejad and instead make a push for Eichel, not only will they land a new top center, but they would also be subtracting some of the young high-end young players and prospects they’ve accumulated in the past three years. So, while today may be quiet, other than maybe netting a few draft picks by retaining salary to facilitate another trade, the offseason could be very eventful.