Whom NYR, LA could trade for Rick Nash
Last week the formerly dead NHL trade market took an upswing when it was reported that forward Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets could be put on the table leading up the Feb. 27 trade deadline. ESPN Insider colleague Craig Custance examined the top teams that could be in the market for Nash, listing the LA Kings and New York Rangers as the top two options.
A few weeks ago I wrote about a few teams and the top prospects that could be traded at the deadline, including Philadelphia and Toronto, two of the teams mentioned in the Custance blog. I did not, however, discuss the Kings or Rangers, so let's examine those two prospect systems today.
Prospects are defined as those in the NHL who are still Calder-eligible (less than 25 GP in one season, less than six in any two seasons) or are not playing in the NHL currently.
Notes gathered on the prospects are based on my observations and discussions with scouts and front-office executives.
New York Rangers
Despite having several top young players like Michael Del Zotto, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin in the NHL (the latter of whom would have been ranked third on this list) the Rangers still have a well-above-average system due to the addition this summer of elite defense prospect Tim Erixon, the progression of Chris Kreider and the breakout years of Michael St. Croix and Jesper Fasth. Mats Zuccarello still has a good shot to be a regular NHLer, and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault has been a great story this year in the AHL.
1. Tim Erixon, D, Connecticut (AHL)I wrote about Erixon last month, stating he is the best defensive prospect not yet playing in the NHL. He's a tremendous puck-mover and thinker who plays very well in both ends. He's the kind of player who projects to shut down top opposing players, play a mistake-free game, show good puck movement out of his own end and end up being a great power-play unit option from the back end.
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