Rangers ready to listen to trade offers ahead of deadline

(Gene J. Puskar/AP)

The New York Rangers have been a difficult team to read this season. One game they look like a contender, and the next… not so much — just look at Saturday’s 7-2 blowout loss to the New York Islanders.

They sit in a wild card spot now with plenty of hockey still yet to be played ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline, but it doesn’t sound like the 22-16-5 team is prepared to take a wait-and-see approach.

“I think the Rangers are starting to look and say, ‘are there other moves we can make?’ Similar to the one with Derek Stepan in Arizona at last year’s draft,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said on Saturday.

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New York freed up some cap space by sending Stepan to the Coyotes last June after seven seasons (and several deep playoff runs) in New York, also sending backup netminder Antti Raanta to the desert in exchange for Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh-overall pick, which they turned into Swedish forward Lias Andersson.

The Rangers have made the post-season for seven straight years, losing in the Conference Final twice (2011-12, 2014-15) and the Stanley Cup Final once (2013-14) with each loss accompanied by the same questions about the status of the club’s ever-narrowing Stanley Cup window.

Friedman suggested there could be some big names up for consideration this year.

“I think you’re taking a look at their unrestricted free agents — [Rick] Nash, [Michael] Grabner, David Deharnais at centre—but I think also some of their contracted players: [Mats] Zuccarello, [Ryan] McDonagh,” he said. “No guarantee they do it, but I think they’re willing to listen.”

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