The New York Rangers 2021-2022 season has gone mostly to plan, with the Rangers sitting second in the Metropolitan Division with a 29-13-4 record and star players Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Adam Fox leading the team in scoring and performing up to expectations. Igor Shesterkin has been a brick wall in goal for the Rangers, with a 2.10 goals-against-average and .937 save percentage while winning 75% of his starts.
On the not-so-good side, the Rangers have struggled to find scoring beyond their top-six this season, having to rely on the outstanding performances of Shesterkin more often than they should. Notably, 2020 first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere hasn’t built upon his rookie performance of 12 goals and 21 points in 56 games, posting 9 goals and just 12 points in 44 games so far this season.
One player that could potentially help the Rangers is Dallas Stars’ forward Joe Pavelski, who is having his best offensive season despite turning 37 years old last July. Pavelski has 19 goals and 48 points in 42 games played this season, giving the Stars’ center the best points-per-game average of his lengthy career. It puts the veteran player, and the organization in an interesting position, as he is also in the final year of a 3-year $21 million contract. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen suggested Pavelski could not only fit in with the Rangers but that they have the cap space to absorb his considerable contract:
It’s unclear if Pavelski will be available, but if he is, he’s the one I’d go after because he’s a veteran goal-scorer with a right-handed shot who would upgrade the net-front presence on New York’s second power-play unit. Fitting Pavelski under the NHL salary cap is not a concern; the Rangers have the space. They have two second-round picks in the 2022 NHL Draft and a glut of young and promising, yet still developing, defensemen including Nils Lundkvist, Matthew Robertson, Tarmo Reunanen and Zac Jones.
The Rangers making a trade for Pavelski would be a huge statement heading into the playoffs, and a move like that could be the kind of risk that teams like New York must be willing to take if they want to win it all. The Rangers are trying to win now, so Pavelski’s future shouldn’t be a concern to the front office. The veteran goal-scorer is exactly the kind of player the Rangers could use as a short-term rental, and they can’t afford to let him go to a rival team if he is indeed available.
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