The Rangers are in desperate need for a center this season, and are actively pursuing many options out on the trade block as of today. Big names such as Antoine Vermette, Martin Hanzel, and Mike Santorelli and a lot more are on the trade block, but General Manager needs to be smart about his choice. Each of those three would be a great addition to the Blueshirts, but out of the three, Mike Santorelli may be the best option.
The Rangers are ranked twenty second in the league in face-off percentage at 48.8 percent, which for a playoff contention team, is quite horrendous. They are stringing wins together despite such low numbers, but in order to be successful and control play, a team needs to win key draws. The Rangers best face-off man is their fourth line center Dominic Moore, who stands at 54.6 %.
However, the best fit for New York would be Toronto center Mike Santorelli. He brings grit, defensive responsibility, depth, and of course, a much needed center. The Maple Leafs are asking for a second round pick for Santorelli, which is a great deal. With two second round picks the Rangers are definitely in the top of the pack for bidding on Santorelli.
Santorelli has a cap space of $1.5 million. Glen Sather and the Rangers have approximately $1.25 million left in cap space. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, but would be the perfect rental for New York.
At twenty nine years old, he is a versatile player who can play in the middle or on the wing and would be a great fit with the Hayes and Hagelin line; especially since Jesper Fast will be out for two to three weeks. In fifty five games this year, he has eleven goals and twenty nine points, which is not too bad for a team that has struggled most of the season.
Although he has struggled in the dot this year, 46.3 %, from the 51.3 % of last season, maybe a change of scenery will turn things around. The Rangers are able to make this deal, and may even move a prospect or J.T. Miller to clear some space. However, they need to be careful because there is no forward called up as a backup for Fast and they are also looking for a veteran goaltender to backup Cam Talbot while Henrik Lundqvist remains injured.
If Sather is able to make this deal, the Rangers will become a more dangerous team. With that added depth and veteran center, wining key draws will come easier to the Rangers and even help them down the stretch and in the playoffs.