1. Winnipeg Jets
Why they’re a good fit: Unlike every other team on this list, the Winnipeg Jets play in the Western Conference. Why does this matter? Here’s why. If you’re going to trade someone like Ryan McDonagh, the best way to do it is trade him out of the conference. Then it doesn’t have as much of a chance to haunt you.
Also, the Jets match up well for what the Rangers would want for McDonagh. If they want to retool, how about Kyle Connor or Josh Morrissey for him? Jack Roslovic could also make sense. The Jets have enough really good prospects to match the Rangers desires, no matter what they are.
Winnipeg also has a ton of cap space, so they can fit in McDonagh. Best of all, his contract is up by the time they have to give Patrik Laine a ton of money. The Jets do have a need on their blue line as well. They need a guy who can play during all situations and help them defensively. McDonagh can do that.
Why they’re not a good fit: Let’s get the major concern out of the way early. McDonagh has a limited no-trade clause and gets to name 10 teams he can’t be traded to without his permission. A lot can change in a year, but that should frighten Jets fans. Winnipeg is known for being cold and there are other factors involved. McDonagh is used to a huge market, so he might not be open to living in Winnipeg.
Also, the Jets have never been a team to make huge trades as buyers. This is mostly because they’ve rarely been in a position to be buyers at the deadline. But still, trading for McDonagh would go against what we know about their current front office.
Likelihood: If any team could talk the Rangers into trading McDonagh by the trade deadline, it’s the Jets. Whether or not they choose to do so is up in the air.