So it’s three well-connected sources within the past three days who have told Slap Shots that when it comes to the Rangers and the trade deadline, “Everyone is asking for J.T. Miller.”
And you should know everyone is politely being told, “No, thank you.”
Of course, that could change by Wednesday at 3 p.m. … if, say, the Kings were to offer Drew Doughty or the Senators were to offer Erik Karlsson in exchange for the soon-to-be 24-year-old winger with the greatest multi-dimensional upside in the organization, or maybe if the … well, you get the idea.
Unless the price drops dramatically, the Blueshirts have no realistic shot at renting Kevin Shattenkirk, the one player on the auction block who would complete them more than any other and who instantly would elevate their chances of getting through the East.
The cap is no issue for general manager Jeff Gorton, who will have approximately $10 million of full-season space with which to work, but it is far more likely than not the Rangers will have to be content with improving on the margins rather than making a big splash over the next four days.
The Blueshirts have scouted the Kings extensively for weeks. L.A., seeking help up front, has a young righty defenseman in Paul LaDue (currently sidelined with an unidentified upper body injury) who could be a very nice fit moving forward, but does anyone envision Alain Vigneault sitting veteran Kevin Klein for the playoffs in order to suit up a 24-year-old with five games of NHL experience?
Is that consistent with the coach’s track record? Beyond that, could LaDue at this point be a better choice than Adam Clendening?
Detroit’s Brendan Smith has been linked to the Rangers by TSN’s well-informed Darren Dreger, but the 28-year-old rental is a lefty, albeit comfortable on the right side. His insertion into the lineup would give the Blueshirts five lefties and mean that two (with Nick Holden) would be playing on their off-side. That is hardly ideal.
And again, would Klein sit, or would Klein, who has one more year at $2.9 million remaining on his contract, be part of a different deal for a forward?
There is this complication, too, regarding the expansion draft: The Rangers must expose one defenseman under contract who meets a games-played requirement of 40 for this season or 70 over the past two seasons. Unless Dan Girardi or Marc Staal would agree to waive his no-move to allow for exposure, Klein is the only defenseman on the roster who qualifies, assuming Ryan McDonagh and Holden are protected. Brady Skjei is exempt.
The Rangers have gone big at each of the past four deadlines, trading three first-rounders, four second-rounders, a world-class sniper (Marian Gaborik), a captain on an expiring contract (Ryan Callahan) and two prospects (Anthony Duclair and Aleksi Saarela) for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, Ryane Clowe, Marty St. Louis, Keith Yandle and Eric Staal. (John Moore came and went in separate transactions.)
And even as Gorton seeks help both on defense and up front (Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen, anyone?), a sellers’ market in which renting Dallas’ Patrick Eaves somehow cost Anaheim a second-rounder that could become a first, portends a low-drama deadline on Broadway.
Boston, Toronto and Edmonton are among the most ardent Shattenkirk suitors, we’re told, though the pool of interested parties likely is to expand for the pending free agent Brian Boyle, who has played the second-most playoff games in the league since 2012 (67, one fewer than Carl Hagelin) and has been an impact player in the tournament. He would be a great fit in Minnesota, or maybe Edmonton.
Or Brooklyn, if the ex-Ranger thing wouldn’t be too weird.
Brian Gionta, on the final year of his deal in Buffalo with a no-trade under which he can be sent to five selected teams, has said he would rather not go anywhere, but the 38-year-old straight-line winger, who always seems to be around the net, would be an interesting one for the Islanders, too.
Pittsburgh had an immediate need on defense when Trevor Daley went down and Jim Rutherford filled it with Ron Hainsey, whom the GM had in Carolina, even if yielding a the bounty of a second-rounder. So a win-win on that one.
And it is almost frightening to conjure what the Penguins might look like after the deadline if they were to move Marc-Andre Fleury to the Flames for an appropriate return.
Pre-deadline Elite Eight: 1. Washington; 2. Pittsburgh; 3. Chicago; 4. Minnesota; 5. San Jose; 6. Rangers; 7. Columbus; 8. Edmonton.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but everyone is not entitled to his or her own facts. And the fact is the Islanders’ acquisition of Butch Goring from L.A. for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis in 1980 is the best deadline deal in NHL history, not even close, unless you can find another one that enabled a four-Cup dynasty.
If the Flames believe their games have been called differently since the Dennis Wideman-Don Henderson incident last season, the Devils were convinced that it was years before they got a fair shake from officials in the aftermath of the Jim Schoenfeld-Don Koharski Have Another Donut-gate in 1988.
So maybe Michel Therrien couldn’t live with P.K. Subban in Montreal, but he sure couldn’t live without him, either.
The “Rangers Must Demand Henrik Lundqvist Waive His No-Move Clause” brigade has been pretty quiet lately, no?
How many hundreds of millions more in subsidies from Arizona taxpayers now is it going to take to keep the Coyotes in the desert? Never stops, does it, for a franchise that has been on life support for nearly two decades, even preceding the absurd land-grab move to Glendale where it never belonged.
And the Oscar for best hockey movie ever goes to “Net Worth,” the story of Ted Lindsay’s battle to start a Players’ Association in the mid-1950s, based on the book of the same name written by David Cruise and Allison Griffiths.
Finally, not quite sure what this means about the Islanders’ future, but American Pharoah is scheduled to drop the first puck at the 2019-20 home opener.
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