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Addressing the Rangers trade deadline options

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers hi five line 2-4

The Rangers have been playing very well as of late, but will Glen Sather make a move before the deadline? Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With the March 2nd trade deadline looming, General Manager Glen Sather and the Rangers will need to decide if there is a valuable asset that they can acquire to help the team attempt a lengthy playoff run.

A few Rangers have been mentioned in potential trade rumors, most notably JT Miller, John Moore, Carl Hagelin, and the pending UFA, and fan favorite, Mats Zuccarello.

JT Miller shows a lot of promise as a versatile forward, who can play center and the wing position, and has a lot of room for growth. Moore is an excellent skating defenseman with offensive potential, Hagelin has blazing speed and is an excellent penalty killer, and Mats Zuccarello is an outstanding passer with an underrated shot.

Less likely is Martin St. Louis, who is a free agent after this season. However, he has a no trade clause, wants to stay a Ranger, and has said that he would take one year deals to help manage cap space. So he is highly unlikely to end up in trade talks.

Head coach Alain Vigneault did not shy away from the possibility of a trade when asked about the situation in a press conference.

“The right answer is, if we can improve ourselves and become a better team, we’re gonna do that,” said Vigneault before the Rangers win over the Carolina Hurricanes. “We’re no different than any other team now … But so far, I’ve liked the way our team has progressed. I’ve liked how certain individuals have progressed. We’ve got a little bit of time here to sort things out, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Glen Sather has also been known for making big trades, like when he dealt then-Captain Ryan Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Martin St. Louis.

martin st louis 12-27

Martin St. Louis was acquired in a deadline deal last season, a move that has worked out very well for the Rangers. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

The common belief is that the Rangers need to trade for a center that can win faceoffs, and some size couldn’t hurt. The Rangers have struggled in the faceoff circle, with three of the starting centers under 50% efficiency, and Kevin Hayes hovering around the 35% mark.

The Rangers also lack size, so many people think a big power forward with some grit could benefit the Rangers. Personally, I think trading for a player based solely on his size would hurt the team more than help, but I understand the reasons for inquiring about a big-bodied skilled player.

The Rangers don’t necessarily need to make a trade; they have found success despite the smaller stature and not winning a ton of faceoffs. Their skill and speed is too much for a lot of teams to handle, they play great team defense, and they can flat out score. So just because there are trade rumors, doesn’t mean that Sather will definitely be making some moves.

With that in mind, here are some of the top targets that the Rangers may have their eye on for the March 2nd trade deadline;

Antoine Vermette

Antoine Vermette

Photo courtesy of Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Antoine Vermette’s name has been tossed around more than any other player, and people think he is a likely trade target for the Blueshirts. The 6-foot-1 veteran center is excellent in the faceoff circle, winning 56.1% of his draws, an enticing stat for New York. In 51 games, Vermette has 11 goals and 22 assists for a solid 33 points, showing that he has some skill as well. Vermette also brings over 800 games played in the NHL, and veteran leadership is always a good thing. The one thing that makes this trade is unlikely is the reported steep asking price from Arizona GM Don Maloney. Vermette’s cap hit would be around $1.5 million for the rest of the season, which would mean that the Rangers would have to move some salary. Vermette could be a nice addition, but probably won’t happen.

Mike Santorelli

mike santorelli

Photo courtesy of Brad Rempel – USA TODAY Sports

 

Sanotorelli is a more realistic option for the Rangers to go after. Mike Santorelli of the Toronto Maple Leafs is a solid, all-around player with an element of speed that could fit into Alain Vigneault’s system. Carrying a cap hit of less than $1 million for the remainder of the season, he is also a much more affordable option. Santorelli currently has 10 goals, 18 assists, and a +7 rating through 52 games on a struggling Toronto team. He is known to be a solid player in his own end of the ice, with some talent to produce on offense. He is more suited in a bottom six forward, but could substitute in the top six if needed. Santorelli could prove to be a valuable asset to any team primed to make a playoff run.

Colin Wilson

colin wilson

Photo courtesy of Frederick Breedon via Getty Images.

 

 

While the trade rumors surrounding Wilson have not been as prevalent this season, he certainly could be available, especially knowing that the Predators are searching for a skilled winger. Wilson, another center, is having the best season of his career, tying his career high of 35 points (16-19-35) in 48 games this season. Wilson is also from nearby Greenwich, Connecticut, meaning he would be able to play at home. Wilson’s cap hit will be just around $1 million, and he is an unrestricted free agent after the season’s end. Personally, I think this deal would be one the Rangers could make if needed, as they have what Nashville is looking for, with either JT Miller, Carl Hagelin, and Mats Zuccarello, and Wilson may be interested playing close to his hometown.

Jarret Stoll

jarret stoll

Photo courtesy of Gary Vasquez – US PRESSWIRE

 

The Los Angeles Kings are a mess right now. Since facing the Rangers on January 8th, a 4-3 New York win, the Kings are 2-5-3, dropping their last three games. They are five points behind the Canucks for the final Wild Card spot, but there are also three teams ahead of them. Mike Richards was placed on waivers and there is concern about where the money will be spent, with numerous free agents after this season in Williams, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. This is where the Rangers can come in and take advantage of the situation, if Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi is willing to part ways with Stoll. With Stoll also a free agent following the season, the Rangers could potentially swoop in and steal him for cheap. His cap hit is higher than Wilson and Santorelli, but Stoll brings experience and two Stanley Cup victories to the team. Stoll is a bottom six forward, with 14 points (5-9-14) and a plus-7 rating in 52 games. He can kill penalties, and has won 52.6% of his draws, never averaging below the 50% mark for his career. Stoll is an enticing option for a big-bodied center that could bring experience and success.

Again, the Rangers don’t necessarily need to make a move. This team is very good, competing with some of the top teams in the NHL, and winning a majority of those games. For comparison, when the Rangers finished first in the Eastern Conference in the 2011-2012 season, they had 32 wins and 69 points through the first 49 games. This season, the Rangers have 30 wins and 64 points in the first 49 games. New York is a strong team that can make a run in the playoffs with the roster that they have.

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Posted on February 6, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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