With the March 2 trade deadline fast approaching, the New York Rangers are looking to finalize and bolster their roster for another Stanley Cup run. With so many big names already being moved, there are not many valuable and affordable options left for General Manager Glen Sather. With multiple players that need to be resigned such as Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Martin St. Louis, and Mats Zuccarello among others, it will be tough to resign every player while staying under cap space.
The Rangers have been knowingly in the market for a center to add depth down the middle, as they currently rank second to last in the league at 46.8 %. While their face-off percentage has been better as of late, adding an experienced center to their third line will move Hayes to his natural position of wing, and will reinforce their strength in the middle, having four solid centermen.
Names have been linked to the Rangers in regards to centers, such as Tyler Bozak and Antoine Vermette. Vermette is an experienced center, who is being pursued by multiple clubs. With the amount of interest being shown, it would not be surprising for Arizona to sky rocket his asking price. He is currently sitting at 56.2 % and has tallied thirteen goals and thirty five points in sixty two games this season. On the other hand, Bozak sits at 51.3 % in the circle with seventeen goals and thirty nine points in sixty one games for Toronto.
Now while Bozak may seem like a good player to bring over, his cap is quite high. Back in 2013, he signed a five-year, $21 million dollar deal. That is a cap hit of $4.2 million, and signed until 2018. He plays on the top line mostly in Toronto with Kessel, which for being a top line center, his numbers are pretty average. However, it seems that there are more teams interested in Vermette than the Rangers, and Toronto is clearly pursuing New York to take Bozak off their hands.
Glen Sather has also announced that he is listening to multiple offers on a few players. Those names include John Moore, J.T. Miller, and as of today which shocked the Rangers fan base, Mats Zuccarello.
Contract talks have apparently come to a grinding halt with Zuccarello, as apparently the last offer of $4.5 million for five years, instead of the $5 million for five years he was asking for. Can tonight be Mats Zuccarello’s last game as a Blueshirt? If so, Sather will not let Zucc be moved without getting anything as equal or greater in return. The man is a master at his craft, and has been known to make amazing trades to benefit his team.
Sather has been known to trade away players due to contract issues, i.e. Ryan Callahan last season, so it is quite clear that him aggressively shopping around Mats is no joke. He wants to stay in New York and win, but in this cap space era, it is difficult to keep valuable players at times.
Time will tell, as there is less then two days until the deadline. Could some players see their last game as a Ranger tonight? If so, Sather will work his magic to get value in return and help us down the long grinding stretch that is the playoffs.