Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. Credit: AP/Jeff McIntosh

The Rangers got a little better this week before the NHL trade deadline. Their chances of winning the Stanley Cup got way worse.

Rangers general manager Chris Drury went big-game hunting before Friday’s 3 p.m. deadline, chasing after many of the biggest names available around the league. Ultimately, he couldn’t land Jake Guentzel, Frank Vatrano, Pavel Buchnevich, Max Pacioretty or any other really big name.

The Rangers were able to bring in forward Jack Roslovic from Columbus, who Drury hopes will fill the need they had for a top-six right wing, and veteran defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. He was acquired to be a depth defenseman but might end up stepping into the lineup right away to replace an injured Jacob Trouba, who is expected to miss the next couple of weeks with a lower-body injury.

In a conference call with local reporters after the deadline, Drury was asked why Roslovic, 27, who had six goals and 23 points in 40 games for Columbus this season, was the pick to come and presumably slot in next to Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on the Rangers’ top line for the remaining 20 games in the regular season.

“We think he’s a real good player,’’ Drury said. “I think he’s going to be a nice fit in our group. You know, we looked at a lot of different situations — varying price points. And this is a deal we felt the most comfortable making for a right wing.’’

Roslovic, Ruhwedel and center Alex Wennberg, whom Drury acquired Wednesday from Seattle, end up being the reinforcements brought in for the final quarter of the season and the playoffs. The Rangers also made a minor-league deal, trading Hartford forward Turner Elson to the Minnesota Wild organization for forward Nic Petan.

The Rangers’ additions appear to pale in comparison to what some of the other Stanley Cup contenders did. The Vegas Golden Knights made the biggest splash, getting defenseman Noah Hanifin and winger Anthony Mantha on Wednesday, and stunned the league Friday by acquiring San Jose star Tomas Hertl — not thought to be on the trading block — minutes before the deadline.

The Carolina Hurricanes, who are nipping at the first-place Rangers’ heels in the Metropolitan Division, landed Guentzel on Thursday and added forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on Friday. The Florida Panthers, the No. 1 team in the league, brought in sniper Vladimir Tarasenko on Wednesday and supplemented that by adding winger Kyle Okposo on Friday.

Colorado added center Casey Mittelstadt and defenseman Sean Walker, Dallas landed defenseman Chris Tanev and Edmonton acquired forwards Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick.

So the Rangers, who will return to action Saturday at home against Buchnevich and the St. Louis Blues, now have a tougher road to winning their first Cup since 1994. If they can get by a beefed-up Carolina and Florida in the Eastern Conference, they could be looking at a stacked Vegas, Colorado, Dallas or Edmonton team in the Final.

Roslovic, a 6-1, 198-pound righthanded shooter, is in the final year of a two-year deal that carries a cap hit of $4 million. Columbus will retain 50% of the hit, according to a person with knowledge of the trade details. The Rangers are sending a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2026 to Columbus in exchange. The pick will become a third-rounder in 2026 if the Rangers make it to the Stanley Cup Final this year and Roslovic plays in 50% of the playoff games.

Ruhwedel, 33, is a 5-11, 191-pound right-shot defenseman who won a Stanley Cup ring with the Penguins in 2017. The Rangers acquired him for a fourth-round pick in 2027.

After adding Wennberg, Roslovic and Ruhwedel, the Rangers had two extra forwards and two extra defensemen, so after the moves were completed, they assigned forward Adam Edstrom to AHL Hartford.


Jack Roslovic, RW
A center who has begun playing wing the past few weeks, Roslovic has tallied 23 points (6 G, 17 A) in 40 games, and has been hot recently with points in 9 of his last 12.

Chad Ruhwedel, D
Part of the 2016-17 Cup champion Penguins, Ruhwedel was acquired for depth and will quickly see action with the injury to Jacob Trouba.

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