Are the New York Rangers really interested in Evan Rodriguez?

May 15, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Center Penguins Evan Rodriguez (9) celebrates his goal against New York Center Rangers Philip Chettle (72) during the second period of Game 7 of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The latest rumor surrounding the New York Rangers appears to contain Evan Rodriguez of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Let’s face it, at this point, the list of people GM Chris Drury doesn’t care about is probably shorter.

How did this happen? Well, the reason Rodriguez has any traction is because Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman brought it up in a recent podcast.

“Someone suggested to me if the Rangers would go to Evan Rodriguez as second place,” Friedman noted. “I said, ‘Do you think he can play 2C?'” ‘ And he said, ‘Yes, I think he can’–this was suggested by one of the players.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it.

New York Rangers and Evan Rodriguez

Evan Rodriguez Rangers
May 11, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defensive tackle Adam Fox (23) and Pittsburgh Penguins center Evan Rodriguez (9) battle for the disc during the first period of Game Five of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Rodriguez, 28, scored 43 points in 82 games with the Penguins last season. His previous career high was 29 points in 74 games in 2018-19 with the Buffalo Sabers.

I’m not sure about you, but that doesn’t indicate second line center production.

Aside from that being one of the major issues with the proposal, the soon-to-be 29-year-old (July 28) is a UFA suspended. He will likely get at least a three-year deal on the open market with AAV in excess of $3 million.

Why would Rangers pick a six-man at the lowest level in the free agency in hopes of being a second midfield with one of the world’s best strikers at Artemi Panarin? Not when there are answers in the list and better options across the trade.

Even if the thought process was to upgrade Filip Chytil to the second line and have Rodrigues take over a third position, I’d ask if that’s the wisest way to spend limited space. Especially since the Rangers own Barkley Goudreau and can get into the 3C role.

I think the most important thing for everyone to understand about these latest rumors is that they are not true rumors. This player speculated in a conversation with Elliot Friedman that he moved it out of nowhere during the 32 Ideas podcast.

The real focus of what I’ve been able to gather is pretty much a JT Miller at the right price. I also think the Rangers will continue to ask about Mark Shevelle and keep in touch with both Ryan Strom and Andrew Cobb before any deal is made.

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