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MAJOR: Rangers Eyeing Blockbuster Trade for Selke Finalist

Published January 31, 2024 at 12:51
BY MARVIN AZRAK
The New York Rangers are first in the Metropolitan Division, but don't let that fool you. Their record over the last eight weeks stands at 12-12-2. It's not exactly screaming "Cup contention," especially with Filip Chytil's season-ending injury adding to the woes. And let's not overlook former Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin's subpar form. It's been a disappointing stretch, leaving fans questioning the team's postseason prospects. Whether you believe a trade would fix everything or not, it's clear the Blueshirts need a middleman. It's why General Chris Drury isn't sitting idly by.

Rangers pursuing Flames star Elias Lindholm:



According to Hockey Hall of Fame scribe Larry Brooks, with the extra $4.4 million they have in cap space from Chytil's contract, there's chatter about the Rangers eyeing Calgary Flames Center Elias Lindholm, a former Selke finalist, to bolster the lineup. Lindholm, a pending free agent, could inject some depth down the middle.

We're told Calgary's pending free-agent center Elias Lindholm, a Selke finalist is at the top of the Blueshirts' wish list and indeed had been even before Chytil was ruled out for the year. His name, according to a well-placed individual, has been at the forefront of internal discussions kind of the way Patrick Kane's was last year and even after the Rangers jumped the market to acquire Vladamir Tarasenko nearly a month ahead of the deadline.

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Now, Lindholm's not without his quirks. The 29-year-old has nine goals and 32 points in 49 games. He's also slumped with two goals and 15 points in his last 25 games. He's in the final year of a six-year contract with a pricy $4.85 million tag.

Yet the Rangers don't need a goal-scoring center. They need a playmaker who can get his two flanks involved, as Vincent Trochcek has done with former first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere and Hart Trophy candidate Artemi Panarin.

The Potential Rangers-Flames Blockbuster:



That said, Calgary won't let him go without a fight. The Rangers may have to say goodbye to a first-rounder, maybe even tossing in 22-year-old winger Kaapo Kakko, who they've been receiving calls about. And let's not forget about cap space – accommodating Lindholm's contract might mean sacrificing elsewhere, like acquiring a right winger, should Kakko get dealt.

However, don't be surprised if a trade for Lindholm may also lure defenseman Noah Hanifin, whom the Rangers have eyed for several years. That'll likely be a rental-for-rental swap with Ryan Lindgren going to Calgary.

It's a lot to digest, and the deadline's looming. Will Drury pull off the ultimate coup? Only time will tell.
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