Tyler Johnson reacts after scoring a goal against the Seattle Kraken at the United Center.
Photo credit: The Athletic

MAJOR: Trade Looming Between Two Original Six Rivals for Veteran Center

Published February 4, 2024 at 8:53
BY MARVIN AZRAK
     
Stories continue below
Hey, so there's some buzz in the NHL world about a potential big trade brewing between two original six franchises, the New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks. Seems like the Blackhawks might be sending over a seasoned player to help the Rangers fill a significant gap in their lineup.

With the trade deadline closing in, many teams are gearing up to fix their roster issues, and the Blueshirts are right in the mix. They've been battered by injuries, especially with Filip Chytil out for the season, leaving a massive gap down the middle.

Trade Rumors Swirl: Rangers and Blackhawks in Talks:



Now, there's this report from The Hockey News stirring up chatter. Matthew Mugno, a former Fansided colleague, thinks Tyler Johnson from the Blackhawks could be what the Rangers need. Sure, Johnson's not setting the league on fire this season, but he's proven he can handle some solid minutes in the middle of the lineup.

Stories continue below

However. Johnson comes with a hefty $5 million cap hit. So, if the Rangers want him, they might need to cough up a bit more to sweeten the deal and convince the Blackhawks to retain his salary, as they only received $4.4 million in space with the Chytil injury.


Tyler Johnson: A Potential Solution or a Costly Gamble?



Now, Tyler Johnson might not be the Rangers' top choice right now, especially if they're still eyeing some big-name forwards. They tried for Elias Lindholm, but the Calgary Flames liked Andre Kuzmenko of the NHL-best Vancouver Canucks, over Kaapo Kakko.

That makes sense, as the 27-year-old has proven more effective with 47 goals and 95 points in 124 games, including a 39-goal, 74-point run last year. Kakko has struggled to establish himself until this season, getting minutes at right wing on the Rangers top line. He's only 22, and the 2019 second-overall pick still has plenty of potential left in this league.

The Blueshirts also looked into acquiring Sean Monahan, but Chris Drury wasn't willing to give up a first-round pick for the rental center. If we're being honest, there is no way Jeff Gorton would let Kent Hughes trade Montreal's prized asset to his former team. Alas, the Winnipeg Jets got their man for a first-round pick and a 2027 conditional third-round pick.

So, if these options start drying up, they might have to pull the trigger on Johnson or risk missing out on an upgrade altogether. Tough decisions ahead for the Blueshirts as the deadline looms closer.
Stories continue below
Latest 10 stories