New York Rangers: Trade deadline update and who could still go

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton attends the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton attends the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers have already begun the fire sale with two trades while more moves are still to be made by the February 26 deadline.

The New York Rangers front office has begun the roster retooling that they stated they would undergo in their February 8 letter to fans.

General Manager Jeff Gorton sent defenseman Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday in exchange for 24-year-old defenseman Rob O’Gara and a 2018 third-round pick. Essentially Gorton gave away a 2017 fourth-rounder (when he traded for Holden in 2016) for O’Gara, the 2018-third rounder and a season and a half of service from Holden, which in hindsight doesn’t sound too bad at all.

O’Gara was playing in the AHL with the Providence Bruins while with the Bruins organization but now will see NHL playing time with the Rangers given the injury situation. O’Gara is a large stay-at-home defenseman that can help a lot on the penalty kill and he is young so I am excited to see his development with the Rangers.

More from Empire Writes Back

Holden was one of the Rangers who was becoming an unrestricted free-agent at the end of this season anyway so it is nice to see a return that can help the future.

The Rangers decided to make both Rick Nash and Michael Grabner healthy scratches before Thursday’s game in Montreal to avoid the risk of injury and losing a deal. Grabner was then dealt right after the 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils in the first ever deal between the rivaling franchises.

The Rangers got a young defenseman prospect in Yegor Rykov and a 2018 second-round pick for their top goal scorer this season. I think the Rangers win this trade in the grand scheme of things considering they got a top KHL prospect, a second-rounder in a deep draft and the possibility of Grabner returning when he becomes a UFA this summer all for the Devils to rent him.

The Rangers are stacking up on picks for this upcoming draft as they now have a grand total of eight. The eight will be a first-rounder, two second-rounders, two third-rounders and one in each of the next three rounds.

There are still moves to be made before Monday as the Rangers’ most highly coveted trade piece in Rick Nash still has yet to be moved. Nash is another UFA at the end of this season and can really help a team trying to solidify a Stanley Cup roster. He was a healthy scratch again for last night’s game against the Minnesota Wild which means he could be on the move any minute.

The rumored suitors for Nash seem to be between teams like Dallas, St. Louis, Tampa Bay or San Jose.

As Nash is pretty much confirmed to be moved before the deadline, there are a couple of others that are on the fence of being traded.

Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh is another name swirling around the trade rumors as he has been held out of play since February 7. The rumored landing spots for McDonagh, if he should be moved, are Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto. The Rangers could see a massive return for their captain if they move him by this deadline as he still has another year left on his contract and if lands in the right spot could be the finishing touch on a scary defensive core.

Another name that has been buzzing is the fan-favorite Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello has reportedly been losing sleep awaiting to hear if he will still be a Ranger or not. He currently leads the team in scoring with 43 points on the season and next to Henrik Lundqvist is the face of the franchise.

I think of all of the names being thrown around, Zuccarrello is the least likely to be moved considering he is the most offensively effective player and is praised by Head Coach Alain Vigneault by the example he sets on the ice.

Next: Rangers front office pens letter to fans

I think if there is anyone else the Rangers could send off it would be center David Desharnais. I don’t see much of a lucrative return other than a late round pick or an okay prospect but if there is a deal on the table for him I think it should be made.

After dropping six in a row and 10 of the last 12, it is clear the front office wasn’t kidding when they sent out their memo on a rebuild.

We will have to see the moves to be made in the final days before the deadline as we could be looking at a completely different New York Rangers team come Monday.