April 12th, 2021 and the NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone without the New York Rangers making any deals. In all fairness, the Rangers weren’t expected to make any changes, though the possibility remained for some of their pending UFAs and those with a year or less on their contracts being in play.
Also to consider, is that the Rangers remain four points out of a playoff spot with 15 games remaining – though Boston does have two games in hand – and while making the post season might seem unlikely at this point, there’s still something to play for.
With that in mind, Jeff Gorton said he did discuss some options, but ultimately declined to make a move, meaning the team will remain intact for the rest of the season.
Around the league it was relatively quiet. 16 trades were finalized today, half of the 32 that set an NHL record last season. The biggest name that changed hands wwas Anthony Mantha who went to Washington in exchange for Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 1st round pick and a 2022 2nd round pick.
Many of the players exchanged were UFAs, or depth players. 15 Forwards, 10 Defensemen and 1 goaltender ended up changing teams, with a good number of middle and later round picks in the mix. Just one first round pick and four second round picks were included today.
For the Rangers, it means that Brendan Smith, Jack Johnson, Phillip Di Giuseppe and Jonny Brodzinski will likely depart as UFAs in the summer, with Anthony Bitetto, Keith Kinkaid and two of Kevin Rooney, Colin Blackwell, Julien Gauthier and Brett Howden will be exposed in the expansion draft.
It’s also worth noting that the Rangers did add Vitali Kravtsov recently, and are reportedly working on a deal with defenseman Zac Jones that would bring him into the team over the next two weeks. They could also elect to bring Morgan Barron up for a look in the remaining games, with the young forward currently leading the Wolf Pack in goals and points.
Looking forward to the Summer, the Rangers will be looking to shed almost $9M of dead cap space, which will give them some freedom to resign their seven pending RFAs, and/or make some moves. A potential deal for Jack Eichel will remain in play until that gets resolved, while the team will also likely be looking at what they do with the lower six forwards. If the Kid Line continues to play well, or if Kravtsov gets hot, could also put Pavel Buchnevich and Chris Kreider into consideration as well, with the former looking for a new contract.
Also in focus will be Nils Lundkvist, who the Rangers would like to sign and get over to North America. The former first round pick has impressed offensively in the SHL, but remains unsigned at this point.
Whether Alexandar Georgiev remains part of the Rangers future also could hinge on a handful of opportunities he’s likely to have through the remainder of the year. His inconsistency through this season means the Rangers might elect to go a different route and look to move him in his final contract year.