Latest Rangers Speculation – March 19, 2018

by | Mar 19, 2018 | Rumors | 19 comments

Could the New York Rangers pursue Erik Karlsson or Ilya Kovalchuk this summer? Read on for the latest in your NHL rumor mill.

 NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis noted there’s been some speculation over the possibility of the New York Rangers pursuing Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson this summer via trade, perhaps by the 2018 NHL Draft (June 22-23) in Dallas. However, he dismissed that notion, suggesting a hefty contract extension for Karlsson wouldn’t fit into the Rangers’ rebuilding plan. Cyrgalis doesn’t see much upside in trading prime assets to acquire the Senators’ superstar blueliner and expressed concern over Karlsson’s “limited explosiveness” this season, the result of a late start to the season owing to recovery from offseason heel surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are committed to a rebuild. While they might consider adding one or two short-term veteran options, I don’t believe they’ll seriously consider pursuing a trade this summer for Karlsson. The cost in assets and in retaining him beyond next season isn’t worth it. 

Could the New York Rangers pursue former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk this summer? (Photo via

Cyrgalis’ colleague Larry Brooks believes the Rangers should pursue former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk when he become eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 1. Brooks feels their young players would benefit from a veteran leader such as Kovalchuk, citing Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur recently calling the Russian sniper ” one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.” Brodeur believes the Russian star be a good addition to whatever NHL club signs him this summer. Brooks acknowledged Kovalchuk could seek more than a one- or two-year contract, but noted the Rangers “refreshed feeder system” is lacking goal scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks also said the St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers could also pursue Kovalchuk this summer. Still, there’s been suggestions he might prefer playing in New York. If so, the Rangers would be the front-runners for his services. Even on a three-year contract, if his cap hit isn’t extravagant they could be willing to bring him aboard to provide experience and perhaps mentor some of their promising young players. 

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Rick Carpiniello was asked about the chances of the Rangers signing New York Islanders center John Tavares this summer. While agreeing Tavares would accelerate the Blueshirts’ rebuilding efforts, he’s doubtful the Isles captain would leave one rebuilding club to join another. 

Carpiniello doubted the Rangers can re-sign all of their restricted free agents. He suggested one or more could be shopped at or before the draft. He also thinks they could shop veteran winger Mats Zuccarello if they can get a good return for him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larry Brooks also doesn’t see Tavares going from one rebuilding club to another. While anything’s possible, I’ll be surprised if the long-time Islander joins his current club’s most hated rival. Cap Friendly lists forwards Ryan Spooner, Kevin Hayes, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jimmy Vesey, as well as defensemen Brady Skjei, Rob O’Gara and John Gilmour as the Rangers’ RFAs this summer.

Despite missing several games to injury this season, Hayes reached 20 goals for the first time in his career. Considering how difficult it is for find quality center, the Rangers could retain him.

Spooner and Namestnikov were acquired before the recent NHL trade deadline. Spooner’s been on fire since coming over from the Boston Bruins, netting 13 points in 10 games. Namestnikov, however, has only three points in nine games, which is a significant drop from the 44 points in 62 games he had with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Vesey, meanwhile, hasn’t shown much improvement in his sophomore season. Perhaps he could be the one on the trade block. As for their blueliners, I don’t see Skjei going anywhere while it won’t be expensive to re-sign O’Gara or Gilmour



  1. I’m still not seeing Ilya going to the Rangers. I get it, NYR needs a veteran goal scorer. I get it, it’s a marquee name to a big spotlight. But no Cup chances for at least 3…4 years.

    Ilya to the Panthers could be interesting.

    As for RFAs, I don’t see any issue resigning all of them, and I can even see NYR forcing a hold out. They’re not in any rush to resign as they will give rookies a chance to take anyone’s spot.

  2. STOP !! NO 35 YR OLD IS AN ASSET THE NYR’s need


    NYR MUST GET KARLLSON + a top line center (trade)


    follow that up with a trade for a top center (RNH) and with 2 major trade & 2 FA signings(Van rymsdyk +) we are back with our core 7 wings & 2-3 D to start & a ton of pieces to do this with and work it out .

    Core : krieds hayes vesy buchny zbad fast zucarello kreids is next capt.

    D shey shatty + Staal for now
    love Pionk (reminds of Rafalski )but may get traded in 2 major deals needed to springbd.

    cap space + RFA to sign + 2 major trades
    = top 5 team favored to WIN cup not justmake playoffs

    they want u to think they are wasting time and $ on a dead beat 35 yr old out of lg how long ?

    smoke screen for real intentions of fast track repair after strippin it down so to speak

    P S love other KArlsson in Vegas for a signing
    F A end of season ? Vegas cant sign em all

    • Well it’s fun to dream right? Anyone know Gortons phone number, this guy has it all figured out?

    • LOL. Yeah that’s gonna happen.

  3. If he still has a job, I see Marc Bergevin tossing stupid money at Kovalchuk.

    Also, Thomas Dundon is starting to make Terry Pegula look like Mike Illitch.

    He did an interview with Elliote Friedman when he first got the team where he laid out various pieces of advice he had gotten that he intended to follow and a month later, he’s ignored them all.

    Dundon should hire Garth Snow. Snow has more than a decade of experience running a clown show for a clueless owner.

    • If Bergevin does that, I’ll throw up. That saying, I don’t see him doing it anyways. Plus I’m guessing Kovalchuk will want to go to a contender.

    • Bergevin didn’t overpay Radulov I don’t see Kovalchuk being any different. He might sign him if the price is right. That is funny about Snow though.

      • Bergevin lost a game of poker with Radulov, he was prepared to pay. Making up for that loss is why I see him overpaying for Kovalchuk.

  4. The Tampa – NY deAngelo trade tree from Raw Charge:
    To TB: J.T. Miller, Ryan McDonagh

    To NYR: Anthony DeAngelo, Lias Andersson, Vladislav Namestnikov, Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, 2018 1st, Conditional 2019 2nd

    To Ari: Derek Stepan, Antii Raanta

    The Lightning have a shot at a couple of cups. The Rangers, especially if they draft well, look to be on a good long term track.
    You probably have 5 NHL regulars in the acquisition list above, and one or two all star level players. There has been a lot of movement between NY and Tampa, and both teams seem winners. Guess Ari is the victim.

  5. Sens retain Karlson, sign Stone, trade Ceci at the draft and in a bold move, Melnyk opens the wallet and steals Tavares.

    Then a herd of Unicorns with their leader Pegasus sprout wings and fly the CTC to Lebreton where everyone not living in Kanata rejoices.

  6. Kovalchuk will some how end up in Pittsburgh on a two year contract not sure who Pit will trade away to make room.

    • NO Thankyou! An over 35 contract should be avoided at any cost.

    • yes please! kovy malkin!

      Kovalchuck is a good addition to any team he signs on. with a decent team he is likely still a 30 goal guy. People want to hold it against the guy because he went home to raise his family for several years in Russia. but he earned that right. if he was on a 3 year deal or less at a rate in the 5 mil range then the pens would be foolish not to get him… if they could make cap room that is.

      • Maybe 7 years ago but not now. It has too much disaster potential. I would rather keep Guentzel, Rust, Oleksiak, Jarry and Simon and there is no way to do both with Hornqvists ridiculous contract.

      • Hornets contract is good. 1 year too long but so was dupers and kunis. They both worked out for very different reasons. If hags could be moved for a mid to late pick I think the squeeze kovy in. Gotta maximize the window cause crosby is gonna slow down in a few years and malkin will play his last years in Russia

      • Agree with Chrisms on Kovi

  7. I can see the Rangers adding Kovy on a 2 yr deal and I don’t think it will disrupt what they are trying to do. I think 2 yrs for $9M ($4.5M hit) would be fair. He can still produce and would be a good add IMO, for the short -term. He can be an asset for us, and let’s not forget, two of NYR best prospects play with Kovy in the KHL. He would be a huge help in their adjustment to the North American game in a year or two when they come over.

    If both of last year’s 1sts can make the team and nobody up front gets dealt this summer, I can see a line-up next year that looks like this:

    Kovy – Namestnikov – Buchnevich
    Krieder – Zibanajed – Chytil
    Spooner – Hayes – Zucc
    Vesey – Andersson – Fast

    Keep Zucc til the deadline and then flip him for a couple of picks. Add a couple of low cost mid-range depth vets this summer (Re-sign Carey?). We do not have a problem scoring. It’s the D that needs to catch up and that’s where the growing pains will be felt the most. We still give up way too many shots and need to improve in that area to see progress.

    Next year’s D should look like this barring a trade of any kind:

    Skjei – Pionk
    Staal – Shatty
    Gilmour – DeAngelo
    O’Gara – Kampfer

    I can see them competing for a wild card spot next year but would be ok with a playoff miss so long as there is measurable improvement defensively and the young guys up front get to play and learn how to win together.

    • Disagree on the lack of movement on the backend. The Rangers defense as currently constructed is accumulating a shot total against average that will wear down both goalies and team morale over the course of the year quickly. Pionk is not ready for regular first pairing duty. But need to be sly and solidify that spot Skjei needs a stay at home mobile right shot partner for next season.

    • Why would Kovalchuk agree to do this? What’s his incentive? To play on a mediocre team for 2 years and then go back to Russia? Some team is going to give him a 5 year deal at least 6.5 per. Benning would do that in a second. So would the Panthers. Vegas as well and there are probably more.