The New York Rangers have played 8 games this season and have already alternated between Zac Jones and Libor Hajek several times.
Jones is the one who has played the most with 5 games to Hajek’s 3. However, neither has been able to register a point during the season. It should also be noted that each player has a negative rating with Jones at -3 and Hajek at -1. When it comes to giveaways, Hajek has committed 4 in his appearances while Jones has just 1 to his name.
In today’s practice, it looks like Gerard Gallant will be back with Hajek for the third game in a row.
Which begs the question, are the Rangers already looking to trade for a veteran defenseman?
Coming into training camp, Zac Jones was the clear winner for the third left guard spot alongside Braden Schneider.
He played in 5 of the teams first 6 games and looked solid. But a bad turnover along with some poor reads have kept him out of the lineup since last Sunday (5-1 loss to Columbus).
Jones’ inability to return to the lineup is not because Libor Hajek has been better. In fact, he has given more gifts in less time. So why keep it inside? Whether Gallant wants to admit it or not, size matters to him on defense.
Here is the story of the tape:
“Jones isn’t a great defender, but he defended really well in the zone,” Gallant said earlier this season.
This isn’t the first time Gallant has brought up Jones’ size.
“We know what Jonesy is,” Gallant said last season. “He moves the puck really well. We like what he carries and I like how he carries himself on the ice. He’s not a big guy, but he plays solid defense.”
Obviously not tough enough to play against a struggling Hajek.
Which brings me to the question: Should the Rangers trade for a veteran left back?
Of course, there are concerns for the Rangers, meaning they have to send Zac Jones or Libor Hajek the other way.
Then they might need some help with that defenseman’s cap hit. However, if they can find a way to get it on their books for around $1-1.5 million, it could work.
As for who’s out there that fits the bill, there aren’t many options. The most likely trade partners are teams that are building for the future with little hope of making the playoffs this season.
That’s why Carson Soucy in Seattle makes sense to me.
First, the 28-year-old left fielder stands 6-5′ and weighs 210 pounds. So it will tick Gallant’s most important box.
Soucy also has just one year left at $2.75 million. If the Kraken eats half of that contract for Jones, it will add an additional $400,000 to his cap hit with a 22-man roster. That checks the most important box for GM Chris Drury.
There could be other options that present themselves, as Rangers are likely already in the market looking at such a deal. If they weren’t, Zac Jones would be a regular by now.
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