Rangers and Islanders gear up at the trade deadline for playoff push


Tlop2000 | Wikimedia Commons

Joseph Bello

With the NHL Trade Deadline approaching rather quickly, both New York hockey teams look to improve their rosters and make a push for the playoffs. The trade deadline this year is set for March 3, meaning teams can make as many trades as they wish to until then.

Just as they were last year, the New York Rangers have yet again been fantastic with their star-studded offense including the likes of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider to go along with their defense consisting of young talent such as Adam Fox, Braden Schneider and K’Andre Miller. Of course, not forgetting their amazing netminder Igor Shesterkin, they will be a force to reckon with for years to come.

The Rangers have already made some noise this trade season with the acquisition of goal-scoring winger Vladimir Tarasenko in a trade from the St. Louis Blues and shipping off young Russian winger Vitali Kravstov to the Vancouver Canucks. The pickup of Tarasenko adds another dangerous offensive weapon to an already offensive heavy roster.

The Kravstov trade was done to free up some salary cap room in hopes that the Rangers can acquire the generational talent Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks. The chatter about the Kane trade has picked up in recent days, and it seems that any moment now he will join the Blueshirts in their run for a fifth Stanley Cup. The Rangers sit comfortably in a playoff spot and will be in the fight for the Stanley Cup when the season ends.

The New York Islanders, on the other hand, are fighting to sneak into the playoffs as a wild card team. Coming off of a disappointing 2021-22 season, the Isles have had a roller coaster of a season.

They started with one of the best offenses in the league, but then dropped out of the playoff race. Now they have regained their step and are back to winning games with consistency, giving the Islanders fans’ hope that they can return to the playoffs.

The Islanders offense had been shaky throughout the season, so they needed to add a real goal-scoring winger to play alongside all-star center Mathew Barzal. That need came to fruition when they made a huge trade to acquire then Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat, just before the All-Star break.

Horvat has been playing out of his mind this season, with a career high in goals with 36 and points with 62. The Isles have been 7-2-2 since acquiring the 27-year-old center.

But more needs to be done if the Islanders want to have a real shot of making the playoffs and getting into the later rounds this year. Some names that have been coming up lately in trade rumors are defenseman Scott Mayfield and goaltender Semyon Varlamov. These players are expendable as the Islanders have many defenders who can step up and play NHL minutes, such as Robin Salo, Parker Wotherspoon and Samuel Bolduc.

Varlamov hasn’t gotten a lot of starts this season due to the success of Ilya Sorokin, who at the moment is in the running for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender. The Islanders should look to trade these players to add more attacking depth.