After the Rangers traded Vlad Namestnikov to the Ottawa Senators last evening, the Rangers only have 21 players on the active roster. In addition, the trade gave the Blueshirts some cap room (according to Capfriendly.com, the available cap space is $4,292,001). We are expecting the Rangers to add at least one player, and the most likely place to look is from Hartford. Matt Beleskey, Vitali Kravtsov, Filip Chytil, Boo Nieves, Vinni Lettieri, and Danny O’Regan are all forward candidates. Should the team want another defenseman and stay at 22 players or just add another blueliner to make a full roster, there is always Ryan Lindgren (who just missed out on a roster spot to start the season).
Just a heads up that Lindgren has been playing very well for the Wolf Pack. Granted, there have only been two Hartford games so far this season, but Lindgren is a heavy hitter, who plays very well in his own zone—a perfect add to the Rangers club.
But, unless the New York brass decides to go with 23 active NHL players, the more likely scenario is that the Rangers add a forward. Beleskey, O’Regan, and Lettieri have been the most productive thus far, but it is more likely that Chytil or Kravtsov is called up. Kravtsov only appeared in less than one AHL game thus far (and frankly looked terrible in that), but maybe a return to the big club is in order for the potential superstar. The fear is always that Kravtsov will return to Russia and the Rangers will lose out on the chance to have him play for them. Despite the fact that no teenager should dictate where he should play—this is a very special teenager with other options. Perhaps bringing Kravtsov back to New York and letting him develop here will cut short any thoughts the very talented young winger may be having of returning to Russia. It’s not the ideal option, but it may be the best the Rangers have at this point.
In other news, right defenseman Nick Ebert, who was obtained in the Namestnikov trade, does have NHL potential. Once thought to be a potential first round NHL entry draft selection, he dropped like a stone in the 2012 draft. The now 25-year old Ebert had an excellent 2018-19 season in the SHL and could be a big pick up for the Blueshirts if he could become a consistent two-way defenseman at the NHL level.
Finally, the Rangers picked up another 2021 entry draft pick in the Namestnikov trade. As it currently stands, New York has nine picks in the upcoming draft in Montreal and nine in 2021. It give the Rangers a lot of wiggle room to make trades over the coming season.