Vladimir Tarasenko is a member of the New York Rangers. As crazy as it is to believe, the Rangers believe they have struck gold with one of the most complete offensive players in hockey Thursday afternoon.
With a contest against the Seattle Kraken coming Friday evening, it’s an opportunity to see both Tarasenko and also acquired Niko Mikkola in a Blueshirts uniform.
A trade of this magnitude increases an already strong case for Stanley Cup title contention. But how will the lines fair out against the Kraken?
Here are the latest line projections from skate on Friday morning.
1st Line: Artemi Panarin – Mika Zibanejad – Vladimir Tarasenko
There aren’t many lines in hockey with this much firepower on offense. Tarasenko is a major upgrade over the Goodrows and Veseys of the world and provides the Rangers with some serious depth on offense. The addition of Tarasenko allows New York the chance to match up well with top offenses in Boston, New Jersey, and Carolina. It will be exciting to see this new addition.
2nd Line: Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko
You could easily substitute line three for line two but the kids have been the best line on this team for weeks. The addition of Tarasenko means the kids can continue to dominate together without the pressure of needing to move lines away from one another. Less pressure will be on them, and in turn, the chance for even greater excellence.
3rd Line: Chris Kreider – Vincent Trocheck – Vitali Kravtsov
The biggest change in lines Friday morning was the return of Vitali Kravtsov to a set line with Kreider and Trocheck. Kravtsov has been a healthy scratch for a few weeks now but gets to play on an experienced, but straightforward line. It’s an interesting mix as a line but has the potential to be an aggressive unit that can score at will.
4th Line: Jimmy Vesey – Barclay Goodrow – Julien Gauthier
For years now the Rangers have employed a fourth line that is physical but isn’t a threat to score. Tarasenko’s trade certainly changes that. Gauthier provides speed and an ability to force turnovers while Goodrow and Vesey are physical and talented players. They weren’t fit for the first line, but they both are perfect for fourth-line shenanigans. New York is as deep as we’ve ever seen them.
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
Jacob Trouba – K’Andre Miller
Nico Mikkola – Braden Schneider
Nothing more to add here outside of the addition of Mikkola. Mikkola is a big player and provides the necessary depth to a team that certainly needs it as we get closer and closer to the playoffs. As a throw-in as part of the Tarasenko deal, it’s a great addition.