The New York Rangers have been playing decent hockey as of late (6-4 last 10), but as the rumor mill continues to swirl this time of year, we decided to take a closer look as to who may be shipped off of Broadway in the coming weeks.
The hot commodity is longtime franchise stalwart Chris Kreider. Pierre Lebrun of the Athletic (who we think does an amazing job) recently reported that Kreider has up to eight teams negotiating with the Rangers to acquire his services. We believe that trading Kreider is definitely something the Rangers should look into, as they are clearly a rebuilding team, and are looking to assemble more assets to make a run in the near future. Last season, GM Jeff Gorton made a similar trade when he dealt Kevin Hayes to Winnipeg in exchange for Brendan Lemieux, who currently leads the team in penalties drawn, and a 1st round pick, which was used to acquire Jacob Trouba from the Jets in a summertime deal. Our data suggests that Kreider is on the decline in terms of being a positive AB contributor, as his scores over the last three seasons were -3.92, -3.83, 0.20. In fact, his career high AB score was 4.26 in the 2014-2015 season. He hasn’t had a season anywhere near that number since then and has only had two seasons above an AB score of +1 in the seven years of data we have for him. If the reports are correct and the St. Louis Blues are willing to part with promising prospect Jordan Kyrou and a 2020 1st round pick, we think the Rangers should be all over this as it appears they already are. Kyrou played 16 games for the Blues last season and in that time, posted a positive 1.16 AB score (which is all the data we have on him). The Rangers have made 6 first round selections in the last 3 drafts, and this class is said to be the deepest since the Connor McDavid draft of 2015, having an extra pick wouldn’t be a terrible idea.
Another name generating some attention is fellow pending UFA Jesper Fast. Fast was a consistently positive AB player for the first 5 seasons of data we have for him, however two seasons ago it hit a career low of -1.58. Last season improved to -0.19, however it became his 2nd negative season in a row. Fast may be one the Rangers decide to keep past the deadline, as he is one of the Rangers’ four alternate captains this season. He is averaging 16.16 minutes of ice time per night which is 1.03 minutes higher than last season and about two minutes higher than his career average. He has 22 points in 50 games this season and is second on the team in +/- with 14. He also draws more penalties than he takes which is helpful to any team. A recent article on BlueshirtBanter suggests that the Rangers could fetch at least a 2nd for Fast due to how shallow the rental forward market is this season.
Ryan Strome is another name the Rangers could look to move at the deadline to a team that sees how well he’s performed on the Rangers’ top line with superstar Artemi Panarin. Strome currently is 2nd on the team with 44 points, but is among the team leaders in penalties taken. His career numbers AB wise have been abysmal, as he has only registered one positive AB score. In fact, in the 6 years of data we have on him, he has a career score of -2.19, meaning he is a very negative career player. Granted, this may have been as a result of the early bust label like some other Garth Snow early Islander 1st rounders (Griffin Reinhart, Michael Dal Colle, Josh Ho-Sang) but some responsibility has to fall on Strome. From our understanding, the NHL media has always made it sound like trading Strome was always part of the Rangers’ agenda, however due to the chemistry with Panarin, we could see them possibly holding on to him. He will be an RFA at the end of this season and will most likely be looking at a hefty extension after his career year. If they do elect to trade him however, they will certainly receive more than what Gorton and co gave up getting him, given that it was Ryan Spooner, who is currently out of the NHL.
The last name the Rangers could look to move is Lias Andersson. Since Andersson stepped on to the ice opening night player introductions and fell face first onto the ice, it has been nothing but bad luck for the 21-year-old former 7th overall pick. He first came to fame in our eyes after he threw his silver medal into the crowd after Sweden lost the Gold Medal Game at the 218 World Juniors. We thought he had what it took to make it in New York, however he clearly hasn’t meshed with Coach David Quinn as well as we all had hoped, and Quinn hasn’t been willing to give Lias the ice time he needs to be successful. His one season of data we have under Quinn showed a -4.11 AB score in 42 games for Lias Andersson, which is obviously not great. Edmonton is in a similar boat with their former top prospect Jesse Puljujarvi, who opted not to sign with Edmonton this season and play overseas in his native country of Finland. Perhaps the Rangers could look at Edmonton as a potential trade partner and help two promising young players who just may need a change of scenery to be successful at the NHL level.
The NHL trade deadline is February 24th. We will continue to release trade deadline previews similar to this one, and will update and provide thoughts on any trades as they come in. Much more to come.