The Rangers traded captain Ryan McDonagh in a blockbuster trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning last February. But New York reportedly was close to trading him in a different blockbuster trade in 2016.
The Rangers were close to trading McDonagh to the Edmonton Oilers prior to the 2016 NHL entry draft and would have received the No. 4 overall pick, according to the New York Post's Larry Brooks.
Had the trade gone through, the Rangers would have targeted now-20-year-old forward Clayton Keller, who was drafted seventh overall by the Arizona Coyotes and has 34 goals and 68 assists in 135 career games.
Brooks also reports the Rangers had conversations with the Colorado Avalanche that also included forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.
Instead, the Rangers kept McDonagh for another year and a half, sending him and J.T. Miller to the Lightning in February 2018 for Vladislav Namestnikov, Brett Howden, Libor Hajek and two draft picks -- their 2018 first-round pick (which the Rangers used to draft Swedish defender Nils Lundkvist) and a conditional 2019 second-round pick that converts to a first-rounder if Tampa Bay wins the Stanley Cup.
This season, McDonagh, 29, has five goals and 21 assists in 49 games for the Lightning, who lead the NHL with 76 points at the All-Star break. The Rangers, meanwhile, have 49 points, which ranks 11th in the Eastern Conference.