Rangers’ Division Lead Allows for Experimentation Ahead of Trade Deadline

New York Rangers General Manager Chris Drury
Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

With less than a month to go before the NHL trade deadline, there is precious little time to make the player additions and subtractions that will (hopefully) help teams make a playoff run or set them up for a brighter future. Each team’s plan for the deadline is not only a state secret and much debated amongst the fan base, but it is also based on their current and projected position in the standings. The New York Rangers have the luxury of being atop the Metropolitan division. Their place in the standings affords them the opportunity (luxury, really) to take a look at some of the younger players in their system to see if what they need can come from within.

The call-up of Adam Edstrom and Matt Rempe, a pair of 6’7” centers, allows the Rangers to get some new personnel looks, add some much-needed size, and account for Artemi Panarin’s soon-to-be paternity leave from the team. According to reports from Monday’s practice ahead of tonight’s game with Calgary at the Garden, Edstrom will play tonight. Edstrom had a goal in his only appearance with the Rangers this season, against Anaheim on December 15th.

The most common needs associated with the Rangers are a top-line right wing and third-line center. Adding a third-line center from within the organization would allow the Rangers to focus on acquiring a first-line right wing in the free-agent market. None of this would be possible if the Rangers were scratching and clawing for every point just to get into the playoffs. As we have seen over the past two years, GM Chris Drury is active around the deadline and is not above some salary cap gymnastics to make creative deals work. This year he has the luxury of slotting in some new pieces as he shops. He also carries the $4.4 million of cap space from Filip Chytil being on Long Term Injured Reserve to play with.

The past two trade deadlines have seen the Rangers make significant moves. In what was considered a highly successful 2022 deadline, the Rangers added Frank Vatrano, Tyler Motte, Justin Braun, and Andrew Copp. While the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals, none of those players remain with the organization. In 2023, the Rangers made a big splash, first signing Vladimir Tarasneko from the St. Louis Blues and following it up with the splashiest free agent signing, Patrick Kane. The first-round exit led to the firing of Gerard Gallant.

Having some time to experiment ahead of the trade deadline is a luxury born of the Rangers’ hot start and recent good play. It looks like GM Chris Drury, coach Peter Laviolette, and the rest of the organization are happy to take full advantage of it.

In this weeks episode Will Wright from Blueseatblogs comes on to discuss the Trouba situation, Prospects, Mika and more.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest Will Wright
  2. There's more to come……….Right ?
  3. Guest Colin Stephenson
  4. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  5. Many Directions, One Goal

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