The Rangers are in the midst of a two week break, and won’t play again until February 15 against Boston. There may be a lull, but there are still things to talk about, like Chris Drury’s Rangers trade deadline plan. From past rumors, the Rangers have been tied to everyone, but with one common theme. They appear to be looking for a top-six forward, a bottom line forward, and a bottom pair defenseman.
Where are Kaapo and Lafreniere playing?
But that plan hinges on a few things, first and foremost being where Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere play at even strength. As of now, Lafreniere has found a home on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. That spot was Kakko’s before he went down with his injury. Will Gerard Gallant look to reunite Kakko with that line? Or stick to what has clearly been working.
The good news is that Kakko found a home with Ryan Strome and Artemiy Panarin as well, which should make this decision much easier. As long as Gallant doesn’t galaxy brain this, the answer is to put Kakko back with Strome and Panarin, and keep that top line together.
It’s not the most fearful top-six, but it is very talented and should score and drive play enough to win a few playoff games. The added benefit is both top-two picks learn what it’s like to play in the top-six, which is arguably more important as of the writing of this post.
Where will Barclay Goodrow play?
Another huge question is where Barclay Goodrow is going to play. Assuming a healthy roster, Goodrow should be nowhere near the top-six. He’s been having a good offensive season, but Goodrow in the top-six means something has gone horribly wrong with the expected top-six. I think, as of now, it’s safe to assume Goodrow will find a spot on the third line with Filip Chytil and Julien Gauthier.
But if the Rangers are going after a top-six forward, how does that shake things up? In terms of pure offensive skill, Goodrow should be the odd man out if the Rangers get another scorer. In all likelihood, though, that won’t happen. It will be Gauthier bumped to the healthy scratch role, or even gone in the deal.