As the NHL trade deadline approaches today, the three New York teams — the Rangers, Islanders and Buffalo Sabres — could be quite active, albeit for different reasons.
Backed by Igor Shesterkin in net, the Rangers find themselves firmly entrenched in a playoff spot and are +2000 in New York sports betting odds to win the Stanley Cup at the moment, according to DraftKings Sportsbook New York. They have already made one move, acquiring middle six forward Frank Vatrano from the Florida Panthers.
Buffalo’s biggest splash came earlier in the season when it moved Jack Eichel to Vegas, but the Sabres have a few depth pieces that playoff teams will be interested in acquiring for the stretch run. As a team that is way out of the playoff picture, the only transactions they make will be with an eye toward the future.
The Islanders are in a much more interesting position. Currently out of a playoff spot because of a disappointing start to the season, they have been playing well lately but it would take a near perfect record, along with a big collapse from one of the teams ahead of them, for them to have a chance to make the playoffs. If teams come calling about some of their pending unrestricted free agents they will have no choice but to listen.
New York Teams Stanley Cup Odds
|⭐ New York Rangers||+2000|
|⭐ New York Islanders||+15000|
|⭐ Buffalo Sabers||+100000|
Rangers Seek Scoring Depth
As the +2000 odds indicate on DraftKings Sportsbook New York, the Rangers have a chance to win the Stanley Cup this year, but there are teams with better odds to win it all. A big move at the deadline could certainly change things for them, but with Shesterkin being so young and core players Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider and Adam Fox all signed to long-term deals, the Rangers window to win is wide open, so they won’t rush to do anything that only benefits them this year.
They acquired pending unrestricted free agent Vatrano to add some scoring depth, and he will be given a chance to fill the spot on the second line that usually belongs to the injured Kappo Kakko. But New York has been looking at scoring upgrades all season and I don’t think Vatrano spells the end of that search.
Rickard Rakell of the Anaheim Ducks appears to be a Rangers’ target, but GM Chris Drury will have to decide if he is willing to pay the price that the top scorer left on the market will demand. Like any team in a playoff spot, depth on the back end is an area that can always be improved.
The Rangers are one of many teams that have been linked to Seattle captain Mark Giordano, although Toronto seems to be the frontrunner for his services right now. Backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev would like a change of scenery where he has the chance to be a starting goalie, but a move like that is more likely to happen in the summer and not before a playoff run where depth in net is crucial.
With their own first-round pick in this upcoming draft and also a pair of second round picks, in addition to some promising prospects, the Rangers have the capital required to pull off a big move if they so choose.
What will the Islanders Do?
The Islanders’ current NHL betting odds to win the Stanley Cup are +15000 and should perhaps be even longer as they are highly unlikely to even make the playoffs. They have a couple of pending unrestricted free agents that could be on the move in depth forwards Zach Parise and Cal Clutterbuck, as well as defenseman Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene. Clutterbuck and Greene did not play Sunday against the Flyers, prompting trade speculation, but the team said the pair sat for "maintenance."
The only big piece that might go is goalie Semyon Varlamov, who is signed for one more year beyond this. But with Ilya Sorokin locked in as the goalie of the future for the Islanders, Varlamov could be moved should the right offer come along. If they do trade a couple of these pieces it will be a clear indication that management agrees with the oddsmakers that a playoff spot is not in the cards for them this season.
Sabres Have Defensemen to Deal
Buffalo, with +100000 odds on New York sports betting apps, made its big move earlier this season moving on from Eichel, but they do have a few players available on the rental market. With most playoff teams looking for depth on the back end, Buffalo should have no trouble moving pending UFA defensemen Mark Pysyk and Colin Miller after sending Robert Hagg to Florida.
Goalie Craig Anderson could also go to a team looking for some depth in net, but it’s the defenseman that are garnering the most interest around the league. They won’t get the Sabres a significant return but should at least get them some draft picks as they continue to build towards the future.
New York state’s three teams clearly all have different goals ahead of today’s deadline with the Rangers the only true Stanley Cup contender. Despite this, all three teams could be busy making moves as the Islanders and Sabres have depth players who will be of interest to teams looking to make a run of their own.