Richard Jelinek – New York Rangers
The Rangers ended up acquiring six pieces, including four forwards, one draft pick, and a defenseman, with hopes of making a deep playoff run to make another appearance in the Stanley Cup finals.
The timing was right to make those deals aside from the moves other teams made in the division. The Rangers had picks to move and make their team better. The Rangers got better at forward and the price for those forwards was just a few draft picks.
Forwards acquired were Frank Vatrano, Andrew Copp, Nick Merkley, and Tyler Motte. Also acquired were a 2023 sixth-round draft pick and defenseman Justin Braun. Dealt in all of those moves from the Rangers were defenseman Anthony Bitetto, forward Morgan Barron, and a total of six draft picks.
Rangers fans have to be pleased with what the front office did in acquiring the players they did. The moves give the Rangers the freedom to switch the lines as they please due to the fact the players they acquired at forward are all versatile and can play anywhere coach requests.
In Copp and Vatrano they added two players who can immediately play in their top six. Merkely and Motte can play in the bottom six based on their play in all three zones, and Braun, who is an older acquisition, is a reliable, dependable bottom-pairing blueliner.
Given what Florida did to bolster their roster this race will be exciting coming down the stretch. However, the Rangers set themselves up well with a playoff-type roster. Offense, defense, board battles, and grit. This is how Stanley Cups are won.