The New York Rangers are really starting to put things together in the second half of the season, but the trade winds are seemingly blowing on Broadway lately. After acquiring Kevin Klein from Nashville, the Rangers may be looking to the Central Division once again for another asset. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Rangers may be interested in Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues.
Western Conf teams suggest the Rangers are gathering intel on Chris Stewart. Callahan for Stewart would be a sweet deal for the Blues.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 31, 2014
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan keeps coming up in trade rumors as it seems the pending unrestricted free agent may have too high an asking price to re-sign with New York. He could be an interesting trade chip as the deadline nears.
With the Olympics approaching, there's almost two trade deadlines at this point. The NHL will freeze trades at 3 p.m. on Feb. 7 to break for the Olympics. Then after the freeze is lifted -- after midnight on Feb. 23 -- teams will have eight days before the league's official trade deadline. So there could be a flurry of activity coming sooner than later.
Dreger is right that Callahan would be a great get for the Blues. Though he is struggling this year, Callahan seems like the kind of player that would thrive in a two-way role under Ken Hitchcock.
Stewart and Callahan also have similar cap hits, which means they'd make a lot of sense in a swap under the tight cap this year. The difference is Stewart still has another very affordable year on his deal after this season.
So in theory it makes sense, but these things aren't always as simple as they seem on paper. It's all speculation at this point anyway.
For the Rangers, they could use a big-bodied scorer like Stewart who is 26 years old and affordable. That said, the Blues likely would have hoped for a little more consistency out of Stewart this year after the way he played in the abbreviated 2013 season, which could be a reason they'd consider dealing him.
He has 15 goals and 25 points and is averaging just over 13 minutes a night for one of the league's best teams. Stewart posted 18 goals in 48 games last year and started to look like the guy that had 28 goals in back-to-back seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but it's been up and down again this year.
Either way, if he's a guy the Blues would consider dealing, Stewart probably would help the Rangers this year and next. And if New York really fears losing Callahan to free agency, it would be a solid value pick up to get a guy like Stewart.
It could be an interesting few weeks in Manhattan.