The New York Rangers were making so many moves around the trade deadline, it became dizzying for fans and players themselves. Rangers management elected to tear things down and rebuild from the ground up as general manager Jeff Gorton and president Glen Sather issued a letter to the team’s fanbase, warning them to brace for change.
As you know, the Rangers were huge sellers at the deadline, where captain Ryan McDonagh was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who also acquired forward J.T. Miller. The Lightning sent Vladislav Namestnikov, a 2018 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick in 2019, defensive prospect Libor Hajek forward prospectBrett Howden. The conditional second-round pick becomes a first-rounder if the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in either 2018 or 2019. And let's not forget that veteran Rick Nash was moved to the Boston Bruins in return for a 2018 first-rounder, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, defenseman Ryan Lindgren plus a seventh-round pick in 2019.The Rangers also sent Michael Grabner to the New Jersey Devils for a 2018 second-round pick and prospect Yegor Rykov.
They have surely loaded up on prospects and picks. Maybe a tad too much, if that's even possible? NHL insider Bob McKenzie believes the Rangers will use that to their advantage at the upcoming draft, whilst keeping their trade deadline motto: "Open for business."
“Open for business,” indicated McKenzie during a Wednesday evening appearance on NBCSN, as reported by Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports. “Same as they were at the trade deadline. Once this season is over, the road to the rebuild continues."
"They’ve got five picks in the first two rounds – that’s almost too many. And you say, ‘Well, that’s crazy. They’re a rebuilding hockey team. The more young guys the better you can get."
McKenzie does not rule out the possibility that Gorton could package some picks in order to get immediate help. One thing is certain: the Rangers' many picks have become the team's new trade bait coming into the draft.
"Is there a chance to package up some of those draft picks – one or two or three of the first-round picks- and move much higher in the draft. Or a first-round pick and second-round pick and try and move up in the draft.
“Also, another consideration: I don’t think the Rangers are interested in getting 26 or 27 or 28 year old guys, but if you could find a really good 21 or 22 or 23 year old using those draft picks as currency, I think the Rangers are wide open to that."
The Rangers might have said they wanted a rebuild back in February, but we realize more and more that they meant an agressive one, just like the Bruins have pulled off. So let's see what they manage to do before the NHL Entry Draft...