The New York Rangers are a team full of scoring and deep playmakers in their every attack.
After signing with Vincent Trochek, general manager Chris Drury stated that the team would be too nervous to make any additional moves for the free agent.
That was before Matthew Tkachuk became available.
Based on the reports, Calgary Flames are expected to trade all-star Matthew Tkachuk after negotiations faltered between the 24-year-old Pacific League champion.
New York has a large number of potential clients and strong players to strike a deal with Flames. At 24 years old, and running a 100-point season, players like Tkachuk aren’t available every season and every major contender should consider bringing in a player like him.
But what would a trade look like for a team like the Rangers?
Rangers Cap Condrum
Based on cover alone, the Rangers don’t have the cover space needed to strike a deal for Tkachuk. With just $4 million in space and contract negotiations pending with Capo Kaku and Andre Miller and Alexis Lavrinier, Rangers are unlikely to strike a deal.
However, there are ways to mitigate the Flames deal and extend Tkachuk. A trade starting with Jacob Trouba and/or Chris Kreider can allow Rangers to be max compatible. Trouba owes $8 million over the next few years, while the Kreider deal is worth $6.5 million.
Will Rangers trade Tropa and Cryder for Tkachuk? That’s unlikely, but there are reasons to be optimistic if Rangers can strike a deal.
Kreider has just put in a great career scoring goals and points. On the other hand, Trouba is an excellent second-line defender and has grown well with Miller. There are of course other options for New York.
Ryan Lindgren. Ryan Reaves and a notable young player could also be a deal starter for the Rangers. If Tkachuk closes a deal close to $9 million as expected, the Rangers will need to free up nearly $5 million immediately.
Although it is unlikely, it is definitely possible.
Tkachuk will be a comprehensive step
You could argue that Rangers have already gone to great lengths to improve their roster and return to the Eastern Conference Finals with their off-season moves.
But there aren’t many players like Matthew Tkachuk roaming the open market. If the Rangers don’t step forward, another opponent in the Eastern District playoff could upset New York.
Tkachuk is only 24 years old, emerging from a 100-point season and an All-Star appearance. Rangers also have loads of excellent young talent. While young talent can develop into good NHL players, New York has a unique opportunity to pick up a young and star player in the league.
This opportunity does not come often. Prospects like Will Cuylle, Brennan Othmann and even current young players like Chytil shouldn’t be saved from the Tkachuk deal.
Tkachuk joining in an attack with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad will make New York’s attack very silly and the Rangers attack will still be full of depth. Rangers also have young defensive prospects that can be quickly tracked and looking for time to play this year.
The potential Rangers group is not barren and that could ease the pressure that a deal like this would bring.
It’s really easy to sit here and talk about why the Rangers didn’t make a deal with Matthew Tkachuk. But players like this aren’t available every year, and it would also set him apart from other top teams that Rangers might compete with in the fall.
If Chris Drury and the New York front office are serious about building a steady force in the Eastern Conference, their path forward is clear: Do the deal.
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