The Eastern Conference playoff picture is full of teams you can imagine making a deep playoff run. That said, if there’s one team that could be called a “contender” – at least when compared to a competitor – it might be the New York Rangers. At the 2022 NHL trade deadline, the Rangers took promising steps to address some serious red flags.
Now, Rangers’ underlying issues may still linger, but Justin Braun, Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte and Frank Vatrano combine for a solid trade deadline.
Trade deadline details continue to come in, for Rangers and other teams. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Andrew Copp commercial conditions as such:
Rangers receive: Andrew Copp, sixth-round pick in 2023.
Jets receive: A second-round pick in 2022 (could become a first-round pick if Rangers win two rounds), a second-round pick in 2022 or 2023, a fifth-round pick in 2023 and Morgan Barron.
This post will be updated when the details become official.
Rangers haven’t fixed everything by trade deadline
To be clear: A positive Rangers trade deadline doesn’t necessarily mean the team won’t be reliant on Igor Shesterkin to an arguably historic degree.
“Not listening to Hart’s arguments when Matthews does things that haven’t been done in over 20 years” is an interesting thing to say as we watch Shesterkin do things we haven’t done in over 20 years. 50 years. https://t.co/F3yPLSqSCY pic.twitter.com/dYajF8iyyW
— CJ Turtoro (@CJTDevil) March 9, 2022
Over the years, some teams challenge analytics. Rarely (see: some Capitals teams exceeding expectations) do they even avoid slipping in time.
[2022 NHL Trade Tracker]
But it’s been a while since the situation has been this extreme. They’re not just mediocre at 5v5; they are downright ugly. Rangers rank in the bottom five in terms of quantity (like Corsi%) and quality (like expected goals) stats. This Evolving Hockey RAPM team chart provides a quick look at the Rangers: backed by Shesterkin and a dangerous power play.
Realistically, Rangers probably need to improve structurally as a team to overturn those underlying numbers. And it is certainly possible. (It’s Gerard Gallant’s first season as head coach, after all. Over time, the Golden Knights have gone from goalie and luck to legit under Gallant.)
Rangers trade deadline info: Copp and Braun are promising additions
Praise Rangers for taking steps in the right direction. Especially after an offseason where they apparently overreacted to Tom Wilson.
Despite going from a slightly lucky shooting percentage (13% on 15 goals) to a slightly unlucky rating (13 goals on an 8.6 shooting percentage), Andrew Copp has all but matched his production of the mini -breakthrough from last season. He’s generated 35 points in 56 games this season after 39 points in 55 games in 2020-21.
Beyond the extra production, Copp’s versatility is very attractive to Rangers.
Andrew Copp is a good candidate for the #NYR mid-six. He can play center and wing + get the puck into the offensive zone with control and generate scoring chances. Given their peak situation next season, a rental picks up. pic.twitter.com/uubcwJugZh
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 21, 2022
Yes, you can tell Copp is lingering as an overpriced hire for Rangers. It could have been worse, however.
Kudos to PHT’s Sean Leahy for highlighting Justin Braun as a potential hidden gem at the trade deadline.
For a team that mixes ‘overcoming their problems’ and ‘hoping Igor Shesterkin puts out the fires’, Braun could be key in cleaning up the mess.
Braun is excellent at preventing chances against his keepers. It should provide a lot of utility in New York. https://t.co/3cPkiZOy1g pic.twitter.com/EDgb4H7Gqp
– Evolving Hockey (@EvolvingHockey) March 21, 2022
Copp is probably the ‘sexiest’ of Rangers’ trade delay moves, but Braun could be a steal. This is a good example of taking a substantial step to address a weakness, without paying big (a third-round pick in 2023).
Vatrano and Motte
Really, it’s fun that Tyler Motte presents, in some ways, like a guy.
Tyler Motte (at Rangers for a fourth next year) is an average forward with good shooting. pic.twitter.com/4Yg2a3xPOJ
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) March 21, 2022
Really, though, Motte is a decent addition for Rangers. If this team can keep their heads above water when the best players rest for their next shifts, that’s significant. Motte cost Rangers a fourth round.
Tyler Motte is a fast and disruptive winger. He has a positive influence on his zone, can bring play up the ice, contribute to the attack and eliminate penalties. A fourth round is a very low risk, high reward return #NYR
Wrote about him a few weeks ago: https://t.co/tATf2acOtR pic.twitter.com/sTey8LfGGn
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 21, 2022
Already with one goal in three games for Rangers, Frank Vatrano is also a reasonably attractive acquisition.
—JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 16, 2022
In 2018-19, Vatrano scored 24 goals and 39 points for the Panthers. He reached 34 goals the following season. Although he hasn’t scored 20 goals since 2018-19, Vatrano’s 18 in 2020-21 feels pretty close considering he was limited to 56 games played.
After the 2022 NHL trade deadline, the Rangers could still lag behind some of the strongest teams in the East. They did, however, make the race a little tighter.