NHL Rumors: Rangers want to be harder to play against, and Matthew Tkachuk rumor is “bull”

nhl 2021-2022 schedule
May 5, 2021; New York, New York, USA; The game between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers starts with a line brawl one second into play at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers formally introduced their new head coach Gerard Gallant yesterday in a Zoom conference. Aside from your typical questions and cookie-cutter responses, both Gallant and Chris Drury (President & GM) alluded to some roster changes for the upcoming season.

NHL Rumors: Rangers looking to toughen up this offseason

“It’s hard not to watch these playoffs and notice the physicality, the energy, the effort and the intensity it takes to win and to succeed and we’re certainly going to need to play that way to have success in the regular season and in the playoffs,” Drury responded to a question regarding his Rangers lineup. “We’re always looking at ways to improve the lineup, to add different pieces, just like every team in the league, and every team in the league is watching these playoffs – you know we all want harder players to play against and we’re no different.”

The Rangers, much like many teams will try and copy what the current final four have done with their rosters. All the remaining teams are big and hard to play against. Tampa being the epitome of what a GM would like to model their lineup to be. Two scoring lines, a third line that can defend and chip in offensively, and a fourth line that can crash with the best of them.

Gerard Gallant alluded to his ideal roster deployment as well. “Everybody has to have a role on your hockey team, and that’s what’s important to me,” he explained. “It’s not going to take 15 guys to win, it’s going to take 23 guys on the roster to win games every night. Like I said, I try to make every player important to our hockey team, everybody has a role to play and that’s what we expect.”

Currently, the Rangers just don’t have the players to fill out bottom six roles properly. Last season for example, Vitali Kravtsov was deployed on the third and fourth line which is not who he is. The young prospect is projected as a top six right winger in the NHL, and the Rangers already have Pavel Buchnevich and Kaapo Kakko occupying those spots. Changes are coming this summer for the Blueshirts.

Matthew Tkachuk rumors are “bull”

matthew tkachuk rumors
Jan 2, 2020; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) controls the puck against the New York Rangers during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Sportnet’s Shane O’Brien dropped his little bombshell to Steve Kouleas of NHL Radio that sent the hockey world buzzing over the weekend. He heard that Matthew Tkachuk wants out of Calgary and would like a trade to the St. Louis Blues. The same city his dad, Keith Thachuk retired from. O’Brien then speculated about a swap involving Vladimir Tarasenko.

Ryan Pinder of The Fan960 heard this rumor and went directly to his sources with the Flames. “In reaching out to some folks around the organization, they described this rumor in two words,” he began. “The first one being bull and the second one sounding a lot like shirt.”

So is this enough to put Tkachuk rumors to bed? It should be.

The 23 year-old winger currently earns $7 million per season and will be a RFA with arbitration rights in 2022-23. This season Tkachuk scored 16 goals and 43 points in 56 games. His best season came in 2018-19 where he notched 34 tallies and 77 points in 80 games.

The kid is a gamer with a high ceiling, so he will be worth a lot. But why would Calgary trade him? He has a year left and they own his rights, so right now Tkachuk is more of a fantasy than a legit trade target.