NHL Rumors: Rangers looking for defenseman; no contract for Strome; Penguins fire sale; and is DeBrusk available?

The New York Rangers 10-4-3 start to the season has them in prime position to make the playoffs.

A recent loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs where they scored just one goal, coupled with the loss of Sammy Blais to a torn ACL, has them in the trade rumor mill.

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NHL Rumors: Rangers actively shopping; no contract for Strome

Darren Dreger noted on recent segment of TSN’s Insider Trading that the team was looking to replace the injured Blais.

“Chris Drury, the general manager for the New York Rangers, is looking for a middle-six forward, which isn’t a term we use often in hockey,” Dreger explained. “That can be a third-line player or someone who can punch into the top six.”

In addition, Arthur Staple of The Athletic is reporting that the Blueshirts are also looking for a defenseman.

The Athletic confirmed that the Rangers are potentially looking to add a forward, though a veteran defenseman is believed to be on their shopping list, as well.

The Athletic

There are plenty of potential targets out there, but the urgency to make a move will only be predicated on wins and losses. If the Rangers can keep winning, a move is more likely to occur at the trade deadline. If losses mount, Drury will work hard to bring in what’s needed.

Two prime targets I am aware of are F Reilly Smith in Vegas and D Mark Giordano in Seattle.

Apr 25, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Ryan Strome #16 of the New York Rangers smiles during warm ups before the game against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden on April 25, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Mollie Walker of the NY Post provided a contract update on Ryan Strome.

There haven’t been any contract discussions between Strome’s camp and the Rangers to date, and, at the moment, there isn’t a plan to have any, The Post has learned. So Strome may have to treat this season as a showcase for his next prospective NHL team.

NY Post

The former 5th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft will likely be looking for a new deal in the $6.5M to $7.5M range with max term. A significant increase to his current $4.5M deal which expires this summer.

He is on our top 15 for trade bait candidates.

Penguins fire sale?

The Penguins, besieged by injuries and COVID this season are off to a slow start at 6-6-4. If they were in any other division, I would not be overly concerned.

The Metropolitan Division has only one team under .500 and that is the NY Islanders by just 1 game. The Isles have also only played 13 games, and all on the road. They open their new home, UBS Arena tonight.

If the Penguins are out of a playoff spot by the trade deadline, the futures of aging veterans like Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will be front and center again.

Jake DeBrusk a wanted commodity?

jake DeBrusk rumors
Mar 3, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) and Washington Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek (41) battle for a loose puck during overtime at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy recently noted that Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk is still a wanted man on the trade market.

After some poking around via texts and calls to various and trusted NHL sources, there was no indication that the Boston Bruins and the Rangers are engaged in any substantial NHL trade talks. However, there was more than one source who said Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk is still a mainstay on the NHL trade rumor circuit amongst NHL scouts and execs.

Boston Hockey Now

The 25 year-old only has three goals and four points in 13 games this season. Murphy also indicates that the Bruins are looking for a top 4 defenseman in return.

With DeBrusk struggling badly over the last two seasons, a top 4 defenseman is unlikely unless it’s in the form of a prospect.