Latest Rangers and Canucks Speculation – March 22, 2018

by | Mar 22, 2018 | Rumors | 35 comments

The New York Rangers could be open to shopping a first round pick, while Ben Hutton could face an uncertain future with the Vancouver Canucks. Check out the details in your NHL rumor mill.

Could New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton shop one of his first-round picks at this year’s draft? (Image via


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton is open to peddling one of his three first-round picks leading up to the opening day of the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22. The Rangers’ depth in first- and second-round picks in this year’s draft makes Gorton a popular target among peers interested in prying one of those picks away. Gorton tells Custance he open to moving a first-rounder if he can get a good young player in return. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited NHL insider Pierre LeBrun’s appearance Wednesday on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 discussing possible offseason moves by the Rangers. He noted Custance’s report regarding Gorton’s willingness to move a first-rounder for a good young player. He pointed out the Blueshirts have their own pick, the Boston Bruins’ first-rounder from the Rick Nash trade and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s pick from the Ryan McDonagh deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Bruins and Lightning likely to finish in the top-five in the NHL standings this season, those picks will be in the lower tier of the opening round of the NHL draft. Doesn’t mean they’re horrible picks, but the Rangers probably won’t get as much interest in those selections as they will for their own, which could become a top-10 pick, perhaps even first overall. Gorton will likely want a good NHL-established player who’s 22 or younger in return for one of his picks. 


THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford recently speculated the second-half decline of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton puts his future with the club into uncertainty. Prior to being recently sidelined by a foot ailment, the 25-year-old Hutton was a healthy scratch in a dozen games since Dec. 19. Head coach Travis Green recently noted conditioning was an issue for the blueliner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Canucks could put Hutton on the trade block this summer. Cap Friendly indicates he has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $2.8 million, making him an affordable pickup for teams seeking blueline depth. However, his struggles this season could dampen his trade value. Canucks management might be willing to give him another chance in hopes he’ll be motivated to improve his conditioning and his overall game for next season. 



  1. It will be interesting too see what the Rangers do this offseason!

    • Please for the love of canuck nation….move hutton out of town for a bag of pucks if need b…i could do better than him…sheesh

  2. Completely off topic, and possibly childish but I am going to throw out a little I-told-you-so. Back in February I mentioned that I thought there was a rule concerning teams dressing their most competitive lineup, and was basically laughed at. I won’t argue for the need for the rule, or how it should be enforeced, only mention that it does exist.

    Bill Daly actually confirmed that there is such a rule.

    “Daly said there is language in the collective bargaining agreement requiring teams to ice the most competitive roster possible, but does not foresee an issue.”

    • I know injuries play a big part, and post trade deadline rosters are sometimes displeased.

      I know Brock Boeser is hurt, but Vancouver, and Detroit both after minor trade deadline subtractions are in searious tank mode!

      They almost need to rework the draft lottery percentages to ensure coaching ethics.

      Collectively, those two teams have won 2 of their past 20 games.

      I know there is high end prospects for bottom place finishes but how do you reward that? Same thing in Toronto in 2016 with Matthews…the coyotes and sabres been doing it for years. It’s honstly an embarrassment to the league!

      • I think both those teams were bad to start with but Vancouver has shut down several players from their opening day lineup (Eriksson, Baertschi, Boeser, Dorsett, Granlund, Gaunce and Gudbrandson) due to injuries. Also, Horvat missed time with a broken foot and one of their top D (Tanev) just returned from missing time with a broken leg. Half their current lineup, including both goalies are AHL caliber. They’re not trying to be bad, they are bad.

      • The lottery rules have been changed significantly. The current rule has now only been in place for 2 seasons. Finishing last now gives you the bets chance but it’s less than 18% I believe.

        As Colorado discovered last season finishing last in these new weightings is unlikely to yield the 1st overall pick.

        Teams have been resting players down the stretch for years, decades, as long as I can remember really, certainly since I started playing fantasy hockey in 1993.

        The NHL doesn’t enforce it’s rules consistently as written, it’s frustrating but still the greatest sport in the world even with it’s flaws.

        It’s hard to believe we still have an issue with goalie interference. Hell Dallas won a cup with Brett Hull standing in the crease, a rule that was enforced all season right up until it proved to be the game winner in the Stanley Cup final. It boggles my mind the NHL can fumble this stuff in 2018.

      • The Oilers just sucked. They weren’t trying to tank but got first over all…how many years?

      • I really don’t think tanking is an organizational level issue, and only becomes an issue when it’s apparent a coach is trying to cause losses.

        The problem is, there are lots of reasons teams could ice less respectable rosters that aren’t tanking related. Why rush players back from injury if you aren’t making the playoffs? Why not trade assets who are UFAs rather than let them walk? Why not give young players more ice time to see what they have if the games no longer matter?

        Also, could you blame players for being less motivated after a long frustrating season?

        I think the easiest way to deal with “tanking” is just systemic items, such as the changes to the draft lottery. It no longer makes sense to build a team from the outset to be just plain terrible for a special player, since the odds of getting him are just too low. So I really don’t think tanking that borders on being unethical is going to be a practice that makes sense. I am not saying a team wouldn’t do it, but if the rules make it so it’s a poor strategy anyway, then I don’t really care about it any further.

    • I think (as I said then) this would be virtually impossible to monitor and 100% subject to opinion. Not only that, who’s to say a player simply didn’t feel good, or has some kind of pain/ minor injury holding him out?

      While the “wording” is there, it’s still very loose. Definitely not enforceable rule. Sorry, but I don’t think you can claim victory here.

      • HAHA…I never once argued for the validity of said, only suggested it existed. Basically our conversation has been this:

        DM: “I thought there was something in the rule book that stated a team had to dress their best available, most competitive lineup” (Direct Quote)

        NYR4LIFE: “There is definitely no such rule.” (Direct Quote)

        NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly: “there is language in the collective bargaining agreement requiring teams to ice the most competitive roster possible.” (Direct Quote)

        NYR4LIFE: “I stand by my statement.” (paraphrase)

      • *said rule

      • Oh SNAP!

      • Shane Down had an interesting idea on it. I forget the specifics but it went something like as soon as you are math magically eliminated from post season, the only thing that counts from that point forward is wins. Then you base the draft order off how much they won after being eliminated.

      • az… this would possibly diminish or eliminate the concept of trade deadline rentals. the system as is isn’t perfect but it generally works. As Bettmans plan of game expansion continues the drafts will get deeper and deeper and any team drafting top ten-15 will be getting a high likelihood game changing player.

      • If you’re going to quote me, at least use the full quote, not just the part you like.

        There is definitely no such rule. And that would be absolutely impossible to monitor. What’s to say a coach doesn’t feel x player is a better option than Y player against certain teams or matchups?
        And how would that explain good players being benched or scratched because of a hiccup in the last game ?
        All of these other teams that have pulled a full on tank, why shouldn’t NY be able to do the same?
        Good for them!

        Again, it’s a rule, that isn’t a rule! And a rule that would be 100% subject to an opinion. Which essentially makes it not a rule. Congratulations…. I guess?

      • @Gored1970
        Agreed. The negative effects of going in to a tail spin on purpose aren’t worth an 18% crack at #1. The Canucks are just bad/injured, combined with the lack of depth, it’s been a troublesome problem over the past three seasons. Unless it’s the Leafs firing a coach who has them in a playoff spot, tanking theorists are mostly just guessing based on personal biases.

      • Interesting, all these statements about the draft, the draft lottery, the rules, comments about teams tanking.

        I’ve never been a fan of the way the draft works as quite frankly it rewards failure. Perhaps less then it used to due to the changes in the lottery system. But the team that fails the most gets the best shot at the highest pick – rewarding failure.

        I’ve always been a proponent of changing the draft rules that favor teams trying to win. Can you imagine a system that guarantees the first pick overall to the NHL team that finishes 17th?

      • Trekkie, I don’t hate that idea at all. It’s beyond ridiculous when you look at the draft history and see certain teams rack up 2-3-4 1st overall picks and abusing the system while not even trying.

        53 years since NY has had a 1st overall, meanwhile Edmonton 4 in 5 years? Cmon man!

      • trekkie and ny… it’s not that simple at all. It is far more often than not the teams not trying but a combination of many factors that contribute. The draft allows teams with less talent to gain better talent to better compete. There are certainly times teams play the system.. but other times its situations outside of their control. Let me use my pens as an example… cause they did both. Lemieux was a gross example of tanking. (I love them for it anyway but it was awful). But the mid 2000’s were a result of bankruptcy, corrupt owners, local economy, etc. (plus one lucky bounce of a ball). the new draft lotto minimizes the risk of a Lemieux situation but can allow teams in other situations to have the hope of regaining competitiveness. even with the salary cap there remains money discrepancies between teams. eliminating the process of allowing the worst teams to draft best would significantly benefit teams like ny and the leafs.

    • The rule has always existed just not enforced. All teams do it. Teams out of it start shutting players down early, teams that have fully secured their post season spot start resting players. This has been going on for ever.

      The tanking issue has pretty much been addressed under the new 3 round lottery draft that started 2 years ago. The odds of selecting 1st doing what Van is doing has very little likelihood of getting them the 1st overall selection.

  3. Ny is in an interesting position. They already have a ton of promising young talent. I think they’re playing better now than I anticipated. Unless something spectacular drops on their lap, they should hold on to all of their 1st rounders.

    Honestly, I don’t see that happening.

  4. ANA without Getzlaf for 25 and Kesler for 38, Mathews out for 20 and on a thin blue line Leafs without Zaitsev for 20+. I won’t even list the Bruins injuries. These teams are all in the play-offs. Injuries are no excuse for a weak organization.

    By the way Twin per your comment yesterday I did some research. Oilers have made the playoffs 3 times in 17 years. that record speaks for itself !

    • I disagree with the injury is an excuse thing….

      When one player goes down, it’s one thing. But to think you can simply replace 3-4-5 players without a hiccup is not reality. If teams had this kind of organizational depth, why would they bother locking up their best players for years /millions when they could just simply replace them with younger cheaper deals?

      I remember having this discussion a few years back when NY lost to Tampa in the ecf’s. Playing with ONE healthy defenseman. ( Boyle at 40 years old)

      If any team has 4-5 good NHL ready defensemen sitting in the minors, they’re either doing something very right, or very wrong? I’m not sure which? It’s hard to argue, because I don’t believe the scenario exists.

      • I agree with that take Nyr4life, but also concur that one or two injuries to main players is tough, you hope your team has enough depth to sustain them injuries, obvious the longer they are out the harder it will be.
        Boston last night injuries on defense Chara, MacAvoy, Krug up front Bergeron, Rick Nash, Backes and Debrusk, they played well enough to win but lost in OT, but this isn’t a recipe for success.
        On the bright side they all should be back for the playoffs and since they seem settle into either 2 or 3 no need to rush them back and they’ll be rested for the playoffs

      • It’s not that cut & dry. Who gets injured & for how long is far more significant than the # of players lost & games missed.

        I had a debate with a poster here several years ago about Mon, there lack of depth killed them. Good organizational depth allows teams to find away to to overcome, hang on or hang in there if you prefer until injured players return but you can’t lose your #1 C, Dman, or stud winger & potentially overcome this, not come playoff time when the level of competition keeps increasing & you are forced to play such tight games that are decided by fractions in variance between teams.

        Very few soft games or competition come playoff time. Everyone is playing almost every other night against the leagues best. The loss of 1 solid core player your top 7, 5 forwards or top 2 D could easily be the difference between advancing or starting your summer earlier.

    • Hey SilverSeven I don’t expect you to change your opinion on the Oilers here but, a few things to consider.
      1 – The Oilers managment has been overhauled from the first 14 years of that time.
      2 – Connor McDavid is a game changer. Yeah he can’t do it by himself, but there are pieces in place to help him. ie Draisaitl, Nurse, Khaira, Larsson, and if they can keep him (which I hope they do) RNH.
      3 – They have a few promising prospects coming up the system in Bear, Yamamoto, Benson, and Jones.

      The Oilers system isn’t as bare as people think.

      • KevJam, what I find interesting about the Oilers is last TM and PC where the toast of the NHL, what a turnaround they did for the Oiler, the culture has changed;
        This season they were considered cup contender and may win it all, well that’s not happening and there is talk if PC will make it thru the offseason.
        Next season they very well could be a cup contender the talent is there and if they win the lottery once again their defense will have a nice addition.

      • Edm wasn’t as good as they showed last season when virtually everything went right & few to no one had them to make the playoffs, nor are they as bad as they have shown this season when everything has virtually gone wrong & most had them to win the Pacific, including myself but only as Anh had serious injury issues out of the gate. I didn’t have them going any where come the playoffs as I had them drawing the 1st wildcard which for me was Min.

        You can’t judge any team, player, coach, GM, etc. on 1 or 2 seasons. That’s far to short sighted. The constant changes in Edm are a huge part of the problem.

        Most of you are far to short sighted & need to think in far longer terms. Factoring in age eventually, as all players slow down or in the case of stud Dman became shut down Dman late in their careers.

      • Striker, not sure who or what you defined short sighted as; Is it a win now, retool, 2 to 3 year rebuild or a complete tear down?
        I guess the answer lies within the team expectation for the season or beyond.
        I do believe you had the Oilers in the playoffs this season, as did everyone else. Simply put the Oilers failed this season; but just as easy with better goaltending next season they could be right back in the playoffs. It’s the nature of the western conference for the last few season, it’s very competitive in one year not guarantee in next.

      • What’s the deal with Jesse Puljujarvi? At the draft he was neck and neck with Patrick Laine and now he doesn’t seem to be mentioned as a stellar prospect. Is he a bust or just flying under the radar while he develops his game?

  5. I’m curious why a team would trade a good young player for a question mark… even a good question mark… unless the team had cap issues. Now if a team had a rfa or several rfas and couldn’t sign them all then maybe. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense

    • It doesn’t make sense to me either but it happens with a reasonable degree of frequency, a couple of times a a season for a multitude of reasons, some of which you have addressed here & I agree with really.

      Others are personal in nature, a player demands a trade, or his wife forces him to, a players social choices are disruptive & looked upon poorly by ownership & management, we have seen numerous solid young players moved due to apparent lifestyle choices, etc. or a team wants to separate 2 players that are bad influences on each other or so the rumours go.

      A new GM may want to alter the direction & put his mark on the organization. How often have we seen the country club mentality altered with a GM change. Trading a key player lets everyone know who’s in charge & that if you don’t want to play by the rules or system no 1’s safe & often all that can really be acquired in these deals is younger unproven, less proven or future assets, prospects & picks.

      In today’s cap world you need to be managing your cap & roster factoring in a whole range of business issues that never existed pre 2004-05 lock out. Expansion, cap growth, etc. Asset management is far trickier today than before our 1st lock out.

      The NHL’s new US national cable TV contract comes up at the same point as the next lock out. That is going to see the cap rise significantly the year following. That has to factor into long term 6 to 8 year deals today or at least for any smart agent & GM.

      • I think most of that was so rare it’s essentially arbitrary.. BUT… the expansion point was good. a team with a bunch of younger players that will be select eligible for the expansion in 2 years time could try to avoid losing that asset for nothing and get a good expansion protected asset back. that was a good call striker.

  6. Like the Bruin rebuild once they traded Looch and Hamilton didn’t sign Lou they kept their picks and drafted a ton of prospects. Now these young guns are paying off and their future looks bright. Could use a stud young goaltender I’m not sure Zane is the man.

    • Ya, it was tough to lose Subban on waivers as he has a high upside and some bad luck with injuries.
      Zane has been better of late, but shaky most of the year in Prov.
      Vlader or Swayman? Who knows.
      My theory on drafting tenders is pick one of them later in the draft most years so there is a quantity and hope you hit one. It is hard enough to predict what an NHL goalie will do from one year to the next let alone an 18 year old kid.