There are many, many interesting storylines to follow ahead of this year's trade deadline. Many teams are selling, and several others are buying. There's a wealth of star players available, and a select number of teams willing to swing for the fences.
In this trade deadline report, we discuss the news that the Tampa Bay Lightning have their eyes set on New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh.
TSN's Bob McKenzie discussed the likelihood of Tampa Bay making a deal for a defenseman earlier this month, stating nearly unequivocally along with other top reporters that the Lightning will exit the trade deadline with a top four blue liner.
Who that is remains to be seen. But with the recent news that the Rangers are selling off the team in order to rebuild the roster, there's heavy discussions around the rumor mill that McDonagh is now a prime target for Tampa Bay.
The common thread is that Tampa is well positioned to land a top player, with several draft picks and prospects in the pipeline ready to dangle. There are few teams in the league with as much overall talent and organizational depth as they do. Because of that, they can afford the futures to win now.
That being said, Larry Brooks from the New York Post writes that "the Lightning are extremely interested in Ryan McDonagh, and if the Rangers can get the best return from Tampa Bay, then by all means."
He goes on to list the pieces that it would probably take to land McDonagh. "If the Blueshirts have their sights set on 19-year-old rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, then that’s the price. If they are homed in on top-flight prospects Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh or Cal Foote, then general manager Jeff Gorton should stick to his guns and force Yzerman to pay the way the Hall of Famer — who takes full advantage of running a team in a no-tax state — forced the Rangers to pay four years ago."
Brooks is of course referring to the Martin St. Louis - Ryan Callahan deal.
Sergachev for McDonagh? That would be a mammoth of a trade, less than a year after Yzerman acquired the stud blue liner for Jonathan Drouin. They likely won't part with him in this deal, in our opinion, but players like Raddysh and Foote will be held in high regard by the Rangers, and combined with a first round pick, they could easily come to an agreement on a deal.
McDonagh would join the likes of Callahan and Dan Girardi, former teammates of his from New York.