The New York Rangers continue to be one of the NHL's best teams as the 2023-24 season nears its midway point. As of Jan. 2, the Rangers are 25-9-1 and lead the entire league with 51 points, putting them on pace to finish with 119 points — the most in franchise history.
While there's little to suggest that the Rangers will fall off any time soon, it wouldn't hurt to add some depth ahead of March's trade deadline. It's only a matter of time before other Stanley Cup contenders around the NHL start wheeling and dealing, meaning general manager Chris Drury should start exploring potential moves to remain competitive.
If New York wants to beef up its forward lines, one NHL analyst has a trade proposal that could help.
Rangers Trade Targets: Anthony Duclair Rumors
Bleacher Report's Adam Gretz suggests that the Rangers should target the San Jose Sharks' Anthony Duclair if they want to improve their scoring depth. The 28-year-old sniper is signed through the 2023-24 campaign with a $3 million cap hit before hitting free agency in the summer, likely making him a popular rental target for contenders at the deadline.
The Rangers don't need Duclair, per se, but his presence would provide a major boost. While New York scores the ninth-most goals per game and owns an NHL-best 30.9% power-play success rate, Peter Laviolette's team is tied for the 11th-fewest even-strength goals this season at 83.
Additionally, the Rangers aren't getting much offensive production from their forwards outside of the quintet of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck, and Alexis Lafrenière (to a degree).
Duclair isn't having his best campaign, but he has seven goals and 13 points through 33 games. While he's only on pace for 17 goals in an 82-game campaign this time around, it was only two seasons ago that he scored 31 across 74 outings with the Florida Panthers. He also had 11 points in 20 games during the Panthers' run to the 2022-23 Stanley Cup Final, showing what kind of playoff experience he'd bring to the Rangers' locker room.
He also has experience playing on the penalty kill and power play, making him the type of Swiss army knife that Laviolette would love to have at his disposal.
Acquiring Duclair would also bring his career full circle. After all, it was the Rangers who drafted the Pointe-Claire, QC native 80th overall back in 2013. However, his stint didn't last long as New York moved him, defenseman John Moore, and two prospects to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for d-men Keith Yandle and Chris Summers at the 2015 NHL trade deadline.
If this proposed trade winds up happening, it'll be interesting to see how it moves the needle regarding a potential championship run. For now, the Rangers join the Colorado Avalanche as co-favorites to win the Stanley Cup this spring.