NOVEMBER 21, 2017 | 4:59pm ET
TheFourthPeriod.com

COULD THE RANGERS TRADE McDONAGH?

 
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Ryan McDonagh, defenceman

 
 

The New York Rangers appear to be at a crossroads, or at least that's how the New York Post is making it seem.

Longtime Rangers beat writer Larry Brooks of the Post suggests the Rangers could go in one of two directions this season -- either buy and build for the playoffs, or sell off some of their key assets.

While it's still very early to determine which course of action the Rangers plan on taking, as what happens over the next 10-20 games will play a significant role, it's worth noting the Blueshirts have some solid pieces they could move if they decided to go the selling route.

Forwards Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and David Desharnais, and defenseman Nick Holden are in the final year of their contracts and can become unrestricted free agents next July, and if the Rangers decide to sell, they're all going to attract plenty of interest and could yield a solid return.

But as Brooks notes, captain Ryan McDonagh may bring home the biggest prize.

McDonagh, 28, has one-year left on his contract beyond this season and comes with a $4.7 million salary cap hit. He also owns a 10-team modified no-trade clause.

If the Rangers decide to explore the market on McDonagh, Brooks believes teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning could benefit the most.

However, Brooks also notes that if the Rangers go down this road and try to move McDonagh, it will "represent as dramatic a course correction as possible and all but eliminate any chance the 2017-18 Rangers have of winning anything, including a playoff berth."

Several teams would line up for McDonagh, though, and Rangers GM Jim Gorton would have plenty of options and still have a solid defensive corps led by Kevin Shattenkirk, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith and Brady Skjei.