By Brian Monzo
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It’s no surprise the Rangers will be looking to fill their biggest need — a scorer — this offseason.
It seems like we go ’round this circle after every season. Each year they’re just a goal short of something special. (And let’s not forget about their brutal power play, which also desperately needs help.)
Last week I talked about New York’s needs, and what could happen through free agency. This week, we’ll look at two trade possibilities.
The Rangers have a plethora of defensemen and could add another in free agency. They could look to sign Ducks prospect and soon-to-be free agent Justin Schultz or a veteran unrestricted free agent like Bryce Salvador, Adrian Aucoin or Bryan Allen. Those three players could eat some minutes and allow John Tortorella to play more than four defensemen, which appeared to be the case throughout the playoffs.
You can be sure the Rangers are going to do what they can to move Brandon Dubinsky and his contract ($4.2 million per season through 2014-15). They also have an abundance of young defensemen, which could make restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto or prospect Tim Erixon available. Artem Anisimov is another player they could possible move if the right deal comes along.
I’m not sure of Bobby Ryan’s availability, but there have been rumors, and the Rangers should certainly test the waters and see if the Ducks’ goal scorer is on the block. Ryan is a 25-year-old from Cherry Hill, N.J., who was drafted second overall in 2005 by Anaheim (just one pick behind Sidney Crosby), and he has scored 30-plus goals in each of his four full seasons.
There have been rumblings about Ryan perhaps being on the market with the Ducks’ recent struggles, perhaps with prospect Emerson Etem, who has been tearing it up in the WHL (61 goals in 65 games this season). Etem’s potential could mean Anaheim moves Ryan for some valuable pieces to build toward their future.
If the Rangers were to make an offer (perhaps at the draft) they would have to include Dubinsky. Ryan is signed through 2014-15 with a cap hit of $5.1 million per season, which would basically cancel out Dubinsky’s contract. The Rangers would also have to include the 28th pick in the draft and perhaps a later pick as well. Del Zotto or Erixon could be offered in a package, making it a very appealing deal for the Ducks.
The other possible trade for the Rangers would be built around Columbus star Rick Nash, and we all know this idea will be visited at the draft (if it hasn’t been already).
Nash was nearly dealt to the Rangers at the deadline, but Glen Sather wouldn’t part with prospect Chris Kreider. In February, I was all about Nash and would have moved Kreider, but seeing how Kreider played in the postseason, I’m grateful that Sather held off.
We all know what Nash is. He is a huge power forward who scores goals. He just turned 28 and has scored 289 goals in 674 games. The major downfall for Nash is his contract, as he has a cap hit of $7.8 million through 2017-18. But it’s Rick Nash. He scores goals and is still young, and that may be enough for Sather and Tortorella to make a move for him.
Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson made it known that the price for Nash is a big one, but with the Rangers’ depth and smart drafting over the last five years, they certainly have the pieces to get it done.
Again, Dubinsky would be included in this deal along with perhaps Del Zotto and the Rangers’ 28th overall pick in the draft. They have to sweeten the offer from there and could add 2011 first-round pick JT Miller or Carl Hagelin, who is coming off a nice rookie season. Or the Rangers could add their first-round pick in 2013 giving the Blue Jackets a chance to really rebuild their system over the next two years.
Whatever the Rangers do, you can bet it will involve adding someone who can score goals.
Follow me on Twitter as we prepare for the draft, free agency and all things NHL offseason: @BMonzoWFAN