There aren’t many players who get on the open market as strong as Matthew Tkachuk.
The New York Rangers are a team loaded with scoring and deep playmakers all across their offense.
Following the signing of Vincent Trocheck, general manager Chris Drury mentioned that the team would be too cap-strung to make any additional free agent moves.
That was before Matthew Tkachuk became available though.
According to reports, the Calgary Flames are expected to trade all-star Matthew Tkachuk after negotiations broke down between the 24 year old and the Pacific division champs.
New York has a plethora of top prospects and solid role players to potentially cut a deal with the Flames. At 24 years old, and coming off a 100 point season, players like Tkachuk don’t become available every season and every major contender should consider bringing in a player like him.
But what would a trade look like for a team like the Rangers?
Rangers Cap Conundrum
Based on the cap alone, the Rangers do not have the cap space needed to pull off a deal for Tkachuk. With only $4 million in space and pending contract negotiations with Kaapo Kakko, K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafrenière, it’s unlikely the Rangers were to pull off a deal.
However there are ways to mitigate a Flames deal and extension for Tkachuk. A trade starting with Jacob Trouba and/or Chris Kreider could allow the Rangers to be cap compliant. Trouba is owed $8 million over the next few years while Kreider’s deal is worth $6.5 million.
Would the Rangers trade Trouba and Kreider for Tkachuk? It’s unlikely, but there are reasons to be optimistic if the Rangers can scrounge a deal out.
Kreider just put up a career high in goals scored and points. Trouba on the other hand is an excellent second line defender and has grown nicely with Miller. There are, of course, other options as well for New York.
Ryan Lindgren. Ryan Reaves and a top young role player could also be the start of a deal for the Rangers. If Tkachuk lands a deal close to $9 million as expected, the Rangers will need to free up close to $5 million immediately.
While unlikely, it’s certainly possible.
Tkachuk would be an All-In move
You could argue that the Rangers have already gone all-in to improve their roster and get back to the Eastern Conference Finals with their off-season moves.
But there aren’t many players like Matthew Tkachuk walking around on the open market. If the Rangers don’t get the forward, another playoff contender in the Eastern Conference could muddy the waters for New York.
Tkachuk is only 24, is coming off a 100 point season and an all-star appearance. The Rangers have a boatload of excellent young talent as well. While young talent could develop into quality NHL players, New York has a unique opportunity to nab a player who is young, and a star in the league.
This opportunity doesn’t come often. Prospects like Will Cuylle, Brennan Othmann and even current young players like Chytil should not be saved from a Tkachuk deal.
Tkachuk joining an offense with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad would make New York’s offense quite ridiculous and still have the Rangers offense full of depth. The Rangers also have young defensive prospects who could be fast tracked and look for playing time this year.
The Rangers prospect pool isn’t barren and that can alleviate pressure that a trade like this would bring.
It’s really easy to sit here and say why the Rangers shouldn’t make a deal for Matthew Tkachuk. But players like this aren’t available every year and it would also keep him away from other top teams that the Rangers could be competing with in the Fall.
If Chris Drury and New York’s front office are serious about building a consistent power in the Eastern Conference, their path forward is clear: do the deal.
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