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SportsColumnistsSteve Zipay

You can bet the Rangers are trying hard for a deal as deadline approaches

(L-R) Jeff Gorton, Jim Schoenfeld, and Glen

(L-R) Jeff Gorton, Jim Schoenfeld, and Glen Sather of the New York Rangers watch a practice session on an off day during the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Staples Center on June 6, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

DALLAS — A handful of notable names left the NHL trade market in deals on Saturday: Teddy Purcell, Jiri Hudler, James Reimer, Justin Schultz and Jakub Kindl all changed addresses.

And the Rangers also were expected to add some talent before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.

After all, it’s what they do.

“Every year something happens,” Henrik Lundqvist said after the Blueshirts rallied in the final minutes Saturday to edge the Stars 3-2. “That’s been the case for 10 years. I love the group, it’s a great group of guys, they work hard, have a great attitude, but again, I know this management group, they’re doing everything every year to make sure we have the best chance possible to make it all the way in the playoffs.”

The final game for the Rangers (36-20-6, 78 points) before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline showed their resiliency, but players admitted they got some bounces. They are too polite to publicly say this club can use some scoring and depth, along with those bounces, which can go the other way in a flash.

Fact: The Blueshirts, who are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, five points ahead of the Islanders, have scored eight goals in the last four games.

A couple playoff-bound teams in the East (Florida and Pittsburgh) made moves Saturday. Chicago re-loaded on Friday out West, adding three players. Other contenders aren’t done.

General manager Jeff Gorton, who stayed in New York, was attempting to secure a deal for at least one forward, possibly Carolina’s Eric Staal who would be costly, but a valuable asset.

The guess here is that there will be perhaps 15 more trades before the deadline, with many others put on hold until the NHL draft, where 26 were consummated last summer, including the ones involving former Rangers Carl Hagelin and Cam Talbot.

But for now Staal, 31, the big center and older brother of Marc, the Rangers defenseman, is in the mix. His Carolina club is not only five points out of a wild-card berth, it would have to climb over four teams. If he waives his no-trade clause, the speculation has been that he will only go to the Rangers.

Carolina is looking for a young current player, a high pick and a prospect, and will likely have to retain some of Staal’s salary.

Gorton cannot only be looking at Staal as a rental. If Gorton can get Staal to sign an extension, they can use Dan Boyle’s $4.5 million annual pay, which will be off the books this summer, to help cover that in 2016-17.

There’s at least three other players that the front office is believed to have on the radar.

Bruins forward Loui Eriksson is one. If a suitable swap can’t be worked out for Staal, Eriksson has tools than can help as a top six player. But Boston, where Gorton spent time as an assistant general manager and interim general manager, is only a few points behind the Rangers and its management is trying to negotiate a multi-year extension for the 30-year-old Swede, who has 23 goals and 48 points in 62 games this season.

Then there’s Kris Versteeg. The former Blackhawks right wing is 29, and currently with the Hurricanes. He has good career numbers and is 11-22-33 in 62 games.

And what about PA Parenteau? The Leafs are stockpiling picks. He’s now 32, but in good physical shape. Parenteau is 16-16-32 in 59 games. He’s an affordable right-handed shot, and knows New York, having played for the Islanders and briefly for the Rangers.

If you’ll be keeping score at home, here’s a list of some other notable players, many of them UFAs, that are being shopped and expected to move:

Forwards: Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov, Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker, Buffalo’s Jamie McGinn, Toronto’s Michael Grabner, Daniel Winnik and Brad Boyes, Vancouver’s Radim Vrbata, Columbus’ Scott Hartnell, Tampa’s Jonathan Drouin, San Jose’s Patrick Marleau.

Defensemen: Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis, Calgary’s Kris Russell, Toronto’s Jared Cowen, Columbus’ Fedor Tyutin and Toronto’s Jared Cowen.

Goalies: Anaheim’s Anton Khudobin, Calgary’s Jonas Hiller, Penguins’ Jeff Zatkoff.

Five Changes After the Trade Deadline

1. The 23-man roster limit is lifted, but the salary cap applies until the final day of the regular season. It is lifted during the playoffs.

2. Unrestricted free agents signed after the trade deadline, including those from the NCAA, are not eligible to play in the NHL playoffs because they were not on the team’s 90-man reserve list on the day of the trade deadline.

3. Draft choices signed after the deadline are eligible to play in the playoffs. Chris Kreider signed after the 2011-12 regular season.

4. Teams are limited to four “regular” recalls through the end of the regular season. Emergency recalls made when a roster has been reduced below two goaltenders, six defensemen and 12 forwards are not included.

5. Trades are still permitted, but acquired players are not eligible for the post-season.

Heard around

Monday should be a memorable night at the Garden, with plenty of buzz. The Rangers game against the Columbus Blue Jackets comes hours after the trade deadline. Former coach John Tortorella is back in town. And rest assured, there will be a tribute and moment of silence — similar to the classy pre-game salute in Dallas on Saturday — for the late Andy Bathgate, one of the top forwards in Rangers history.


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