The Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko handles the puck during the first period...

The Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko handles the puck during the first period in Game 6 of a Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Avalanche on May 27, 2022, in St. Louis.  Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant was like a kid the day after Christmas with a couple of new toys to play with Friday morning as he prepared his team for that night’s game against the Seattle Kraken at Madison Square Garden.

“Yeah, we got a few yesterday,’’ he said at the morning skate. “It was a good day.’’

While Gallant and the team enjoyed the day off on Thursday, general manager Chris Drury was hard at work. He acquired forward Vladimir Tarasenko and defenseman Nico Mikkola from the St. Louis Blues to fortify the Rangers’ lineup for the final 31 games of the regular season and potentially the playoffs.

Tarasenko delivered with his first shot on goal as a Ranger, taking a feed down low from longtime friend Artemi Panarin and beating Kraken goalie Martin Jones at 2:49 of the first period.

“Everybody in our organization is happy with what happened yesterday,’’ Gallant said.

Panarin was particularly happy. “That’s a good trade for the organization,’’ he said. “We’re happy to have [Tarasenko] on our team. He is my old friend, and of course I’m happy. More happy than everyone.’’

If there was one player who wasn’t happy with the deal, it was Chicago star Patrick Kane, who had been linked to the Rangers as far back as last summer and apparently wanted to come to New York.

Kane seemed as though he was caught by surprise that the Rangers made the move to get Tarasenko a full three weeks before the March 3 trade deadline.

“It’s not the happiest I’ve been to hear about a trade,” he told reporters Friday in Chicago. “But I think the Rangers, I definitely pay attention to. [I was] intrigued for obvious reasons. Obviously, they made a move to get [Tarasenko] and another big defenseman. You’ve got to respect them going out and trying to make the team better . . . If things were going to happen, that was a team I was definitely looking at. It seems like they kind of filled their void and went ahead and made a deal.”

Kane, who has a full no-move clause, still hasn’t let Chicago know if he is willing to be traded away from the rebuilding team. There also was concern about a hip injury.

The deal for Tarasenko, 31, removed only Sammy Blais from the Rangers’ roster and had the bonus of including Mikkola to shore up their third defense pair.

Panarin and Tarasenko have been friends since they played together for Russia at the 2010-11 World Junior Championships. It was Panarin’s first time on the national team, and he said Tarasenko, who had played at the World Juniors the year before, took him under his wing. The two have remained close since.

At the morning skate, Gallant put Tarasenko, a lefthanded-shooting right wing, on the Rangers’ top line with Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. He also put Tarasenko on the second power-play unit.

While he was at it, Gallant moved red-hot Filip Chytil to the first unit and dropped Vincent Trocheck to the second.

“It looks like a very talented, high-end line,’’ Gallant said of Zibanejad and the two Russians. “And I’m hoping Tarasenko is going to shoot the puck, because we keep harping on other players to shoot the puck, and I think he’s a guy that shoots the puck.’’

Tarasenko, who had 10 goals and 19 assists in 38 games for St. Louis this season and 41 goals in 90 career playoff games, said he doesn’t consider himself just a shooter on the top line, however.

“If somebody’s open, I’ll give him the puck,’’ he said. “I think you cannot just focus to be only a shooter. Yeah, I want to score, but just need to play the game, and if guys are creating chances for you, you have to try to score them. If they’re open, just move the puck to them.’’

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