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Growth of Rangers Prospects Could Make 3 Players Trade Bait

If the New York Rangers see some of their prospects develop, there could be three names on the roster dealt by the trade deadline.

An article in The Athletic has stirred up trade speculations across the NHL, identifying one player from each of the 32 teams who might be on the move in the near future. The scribes — a mix from all around the site — took a look at every club, with Arthur Staple focusing on the New York Rangers, specifically defenseman Erik Gustafsson.

Gustafsson, at 31 years old, was signed to a one-year deal worth $825,000. The Rangers were looking for more competition on the left side and wanted a battle for the third pairing. He’s got the edge in terms of experience, but he faces stiff competition from the emerging talent of youngster Zac Jones to get the start on the opening night roster.

Erik Gustafsson Capitals

Last season, Gustafsson showcased his offensive prowess by notching seven goals and accumulating 42 points in a combined 70 games, split between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Offensively, he’s got the edge there too. Essentially, it was a low-risk, high-reward signing. Gustafsson had a really strong last season with the Capitals and it was a bit surprising more teams didn’t try to offer him a deal if $825K was the asking price.

But, the number helps the Rangers, who may look to trade him at the deadline. If Gustafsson can put up decent numbers and show he’s not a total mess defensively, more teams might show interest.

In an article by Anthony Scultore of Forever Blue Shirts, the Rangers’ offseason signings of Nick Bonino and Tyler Pitlick on one-year deals also put them in the trade spotlight. One or both could be moved if Brennan Othmann and Will Cuylle impress.

Rangers Have Prospects Worth Watching

At just 20 years old, Othmann stands as the Rangers’ premier prospect, poised to embark on his debut professional hockey season, whether that takes place in the American Hockey League or the National Hockey League. Having outgrown the junior ranks, the next logical move is to make the leap into the pros.

With the AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, Othmann is expected to secure a prominent position, commanding top-line minutes, leading the first power play unit, and assuming a significantly larger role compared to his potential role with the Rangers.

Cuylle enjoyed an impressive debut season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, notching 25 goals and 20 assists, amassing 45 points across 69 games. While he didn’t record a point in his four NHL appearances, where he averaged just 6 minutes and 58 seconds of ice time per game on the fourth line, his presence was undeniable. Cuylle showcased his physicality, racking up 8 hits and 10 penalty minutes, including two fighting majors, during those contests.

Gustafsson Not The Only Trade Candidate

Bonino, a seasoned 35-year-old center, brings valuable experience as a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. He contributed 10 goals and 9 assists for 19 points across 62 games, enhancing the team’s fourth-line and center position depth.

Tyler Pitlick, a 31-year-old power forward, could also be a trade option. Known for his physicality and propensity for hitting, he delivered 103 hits during the 2022-23 season with the St. Louis Blues, recording 7 goals and 9 assists for 16 points.

As trade speculation swirls, Rangers fans will be watching closely to see how the team’s roster evolves in the coming weeks and months.

Next: Devils’ Jack Hughes Calls His Shot for the 2023-24 NHL Season

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