the New York Rangers They look in very good shape towards securing a play-off spot for the second consecutive season. When it comes to deadline rentals, Vladimir Tarasenko could be just what this team needs long after the season is over.
NHL Network Analyst Mike Rupp sat down with the Forever Blueshirts to discuss the areas the Rangers need to address on March 3 and some potential targets.
“This is the team that has to last a long time in the playoffs,” Rob said. “So you have to add the seasoned pieces like the extra forwards and the defenceman. The second line winger is still an area where they need help.”
Vladimir Tarasenko is the best player in the Rangers team
It looks like the Rangers top line is set with Mika Zibanejad alongside Chris Kreider and Kabu Kaku. However, countless players have tried to close down the second line position on the right wing which is currently held by debutant Vitaly Kravtsov.
If Rangers really want to go into the cup, they will need to upgrade this position. This is why Patrick Kane remains the most speculated future member of the Blueshirts.
“There will always be links to Patrick Kane,” Rob admitted. “There are a lot of good strikers out there that I’m interested to see where they go.”
One of the most interesting teams is the St. Louis Blues, who are currently out in the West.
“St. Louis is interesting because their manager Doug Armstrong will not be satisfied with just getting into the playoffs,” Rob explained. “He will sell on deadline to do what is necessary for his team to be better in the future.
“They have Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Barbashev waiting for the UFAs. There were some connections maybe with O’Reilly to Toronto, which would be huge for the Leafs. I wonder, what would Vlad Tarasenko’s potential land on the wing (for guards) be. If you had a second line From Panarin, Trocheck and Tarasenko – sign me up for that.”
Tarasenko, 31, is in the final year of his $7.5 million deal with AAV. This season, he’s scored 29 points in 34 games for the Blues and still has an open trade request that hasn’t been publicly rescinded. It was also speculated that he would test the free agent market in July.
The winger is currently on LTIR with a hand problem but is expected to return by All Star Weekend in early February, just before the trade deadline.
“When I think of Vlad Tarasenko, it’s curious,” Rob said. “He’s 235 pounds and I walked next to him at the All Star Game in Nashville a few years ago. He’s walking down the hallway and he’s so big… He’s so strong out there and plays in traffic… That’s the kind of guy the Rangers need.”
Tarasenko has a complete no-move clause, but some good news for the Rangers is that they are one of the few teams he’s willing to waive at the deadline. That should help GM Chris Drury with what should be a very reasonable package that should include at least one first-round pick, and possibly Vitali Kravtsov.
Ultimately, there is a general consensus that Patrick Kane is the better option at Rangers. However, if they fail to make that trade, Tarasenko would be a great backup option.
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