The Rangers trade deadline isn’t star-studded this time around — and that’s okay

By | March 9, 2024

If you’re a Rangers fan looking for a glitzy trade season, full of stars headed to Broadway, this wasn’t exactly the NHL Trade Deadline for you. The Blueshirts addressed several needs by adding two forwards and a defenseman, but the big names switching teams around the league went elsewhere.

Is that bad? Some Ranger fans are undoubtedly unhappy. And it’s a shift from last season, when the Rangers absorbed two stars – Patrick Kane And Vladimir Tarasenko – in vibrant transactions. Despite all the cheer, the season still ended in disappointment when the Rangers failed to advance from the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

So maybe a winger this year Jack RoslovicCentre Alex Wennberg and D-man Chad Ruhwedel it can already help a very good team. Gotham loves bold names, but roleplayers who click end up here too.

Since Filip Chytil And Blake Wheeler went down this season, the Rangers needed a third-line center and a top-line right wing. And every team needs more help if it plans to make a deep run through the grueling playoffs, and that’s where Ruhwedel, part of a Cup-winning team in Pittsburgh, fits. He is also likely to get immediate playing time as Rangers captain Jacob Trouba expected to miss two to three weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Rangers did not re-sign Tarasenko, who went to the Panthers, as the former Buffalo captain did Kyle Okposo. Make no mistake, Florida will be a problem. For everyone. The Rangers didn’t go big for another former champion from Pittsburgh, the electric one Jake Guentzel, who now skates for Carolina. And other potential targets, like Anaheim Frank Vatrano, remained seated. There are undoubtedly Ranger fans who are unhappy that their team hasn’t been chasing stars and that the Ranger trades probably won’t yield many style points.

But the real referendum on GM Chris DruryThe deadline comes this spring, as it should. If Wennberg’s defensive skills help the third line shut down opposing snipers and Roslovic, an experienced player with two 20-goal seasons on his resume, helps unlock the top line in 5-on-5 situations, the Rangers are even more dangerous than they are. are already.

Furthermore, they made their deals without giving up a first-round draft pick or any of their prized prospects, while adding some playoff experience.

The 29-year-old Wennberg has nine goals and 16 assists in 60 games for the Seattle Kraken this season, so he won’t fill the net. His biggest strength is preventing opponents from scoring and he has 65 blocked shots, leading the Kraken’s in front.

He wants to make an already strong penalty-kill unit even stronger. Going into Saturday’s game against the visiting St. Louis Blues, the Rangers rank fifth in the NHL in PK (83.2 percent). Wennberg has played 42 playoff games in his career, including 14 last year with Seattle.

The 27-year-old Roslovic, who skated on the top line for the Columbus Blue Jackets, has six goals and 17 assists in 40 games this season, but has been hot lately with four goals and nine assists in his last 12 games. . He thinks he can at least get some looks Mika Zibanejad And Chris Kreiderwhich would clash Kaapo Kakko to a lower line.

Roslovic, Winnipeg’s former 25th overall pick, has 20 games of playoff experience but has not scored a playoff goal.

Ruhwedel was a member of the 2017 Penguins’ Cup winner and has 25 games of postseason experience. The 33-year-old has one goal and three assists in 47 games this season and has played in 359 career NHL games for Pittsburgh and Buffalo. He could also make some time for the penalty killing.

As of Friday, the Rangers have the third-most points in the Eastern Conference and are one of only three teams in the NHL with at least 40 wins.

They are having an explosive season Artemi Panarin. Kreider is on pace for 40 goals. Alexis Lafreniere has blossomed. Vincent Trocheck has helped obliterate a former Blueshirt bugaboo (who lost too many faceoffs) while ramping up his point production. Igor Shesterkin has been better over the past month and they are getting physical play from a fourth line presence among others Matt Rempea growing cult favorite among Ranger fans.

There’s plenty to be said about their chances this spring, especially if their additions help. And the Rangers retained picks, as well as prospects like Brennan Othmann And Gabe Perreault. Kakko was also not traded. The total cost of acquiring Roslovic, Wennberg and Ruhwedel was as follows: a second-round pick in 2024, a conditional fourth-rounder in 2025, a conditional fourth-rounder in 2026 and a fourth-rounder in 2027.

The prices were tasty. Now it should just work. The Rangers have addressed their biggest holes at this deadline. The rest of the regular season – 20 games remaining – and the playoffs immediately afterward will give us the final answer as to how well they did.

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