After several seasons of rebuilding, the New York Rangers find themselves jockeying for first place in the Metropolitan Division. That's already prompted some speculation over whether they'll become buyers by the March 21 trade deadline.
In a recent mailbag segment, The Athletic's Arthur Staple was asked if general manager Chris Drury would pursue a big-ticket rental like Tomas Hertl. While it remains to be seen if the San Jose Sharks center becomes available, Staple noted the Rangers are among a handful of playoff contenders with plenty of cap room should they decide to add to their roster.
Drury showed a willingness to shake things up during the offseason by acquiring and signing forwards Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Reaves. He's well-positioned to become a buyer in the weeks leading up to the deadline.
The Rangers GM could seek a scoring right winger with Sammy Blais having suffered a season-ending knee injury in November. Drury could also consider adding an experienced defenseman capable of playing second-pairing minutes.
Winger Reilly Smith could become a trade option in February when the Vegas Golden Knights clear cap space for Jack Eichel's return to action from neck surgery. The Arizona Coyotes have been trying to move Phil Kessel for some time. Perhaps Joe Pavelski becomes available if the Dallas Stars drop out of contention.
Mark Giordano could become the top defenseman available leading up to deadline day but there's no certainty the Seattle Kraken will trade their captain. The Montreal Canadiens' Ben Chiarot has been a fixture in the rumor mill for months but some pundits believe the asking price could be a first-round pick.