Will the New York Rangers Make a Splash at the Trade Deadline?

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The hot New York Rangers have won seven games in the past 10. If they upgrade by the NHL’s trade deadline, will they go big or go for depth?

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Speculation linking the New York Rangers acquiring Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane before the March 3 trade deadline has been a frequent topic among NHL pundits. With Chicago at the bottom of the standings and the Rangers lacking scoring depth at right wing, Kane reuniting with former Blackhawks linemate Artemi Panarin seems a natural fit.

The Athletic’s Arthur Staple recently examined that possibility. If Kane only wants to go to New York, Rangers GM Chris Drury could leverage that into paying an affordable price for the 34-year-old winger, provided the Blackhawks retain half of his cap hit.

Kane’s intentions should soon become clearer as his agent is expected to meet with Blackhawks management later this month. While he could have a small list of preferred trade destinations, two or three other clubs bidding for his services could price him out of the Rangers’ comfort zone.

There aren’t many other big-ticket options potentially available. Staple pointed out that St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly is sidelined for six weeks with a broken foot. He also believes the Rangers lack sufficient assets to outbid other clubs for Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat and the cap space to re-sign him.

Alexis Lafreniere becoming a healthy scratch last week against the Tampa Bay Lightning sparked some conjecture that he could become part of a return for Kane. However, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Rangers haven’t given up on the promising winger.

Staple also suggested that Drury could eschew a big-ticket player in favor of affordable depth options at the deadline. Possibilities include former Rangers such as the Ottawa Senators forward Tyler Motte and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Justin Braun or a left-shot blueliner like the Anaheim Ducks’ Nathan Beaulieu and Dmitry Kulikov.

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