Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rumor: Rangers Considering Trading Down? Could Toronto Be a Trade Down Partner?

On Friday I pondered whether the New York Rangers should consider trading down in the first round in order to add more picks during the 2011 NHL draft.  Apparently I am not the only one having this thought.  Tom Gulitti of Fire and Ice is speculating that the Rangers would look to pick up a second round pick by moving back in the first round.
Keep an eye on the Rangers, who are scheduled to pick 15th and have no second-round pick after trading two second-rounders to Calgary in Wednesday’s trade for Swedish defenseman Tim Erixon. It will be interesting to see if Rangers GM Glen Sather will try to pick up a second-round pick for moving back a few spots in the first round. The Rangers and Coyotes have been frequent trade partners since Maloney left his post as assistant GM with the Rangers to become the Coyotes GM.
One such scenario to keep in mind would be trading back with the Toronto Maple Leafs as is reporting that GM Brian Burke is looking to package one of his first round picks and his early second to move up higher in the first round.
"We're trying to move up, but haven't had any luck yet ... it's still pretty early," Burke said. "We own the 25th pick (from Philadelphia) and either a 29 or 30 from Boston (depending on the result of Stanley Cup Final), and we're trying to package 39 and one of those first-rounders."
Obviously there are issues with this scenario.  The first being how the draft unfolds and who is actually available when the Rangers #15 slot comes up.  If the player the Rangers are targeting is there, then they will stay and take him in the spot instead of risking him being gone by the time they would select again.  Also, in terms of the Toronto scenario, they could be looking to move higher than #15 and would also depend on if the player they want is there to be taken with the Rangers pick.

Burke continued…
"We're trying to identify all the ledges where the draft falls off," he said. "The way this draft is, we've got good bandwidth and a good feel that you could be getting the same player from No. 15 through No. 50. When it gets to No. 25 and if we still own that pick, you're going to see our phones start to ring from three different teams. They'll probably say, 'OK, there's a guy we really want at 25, would you trade down with us?' So we haven't ruled that out, either, in this draft. We've told our scouts, you have to have a gymnast ability to be flexible in moving up or down, so you'll see the phone ringing a lot on draft day."
As I said on Friday, the two main guys the Rangers should target and stay at #15 to select would be centers Mark McNeill and Mark Scheifele.  Both players are expected to go in the area surrounding the Rangers selection and for different reasons would be excellent fits for the organization.  However, if both are gone, the Rangers cannot discount the idea of moving down to get more picks to further deepen the prospect ranks.  A deal like what the Leafs are looking to do would make sense, even if the Rangers throw-in a minor league defensive prospect like Pavel Valentenko.