Roslovic Wennberg Ruhwedel split

The New York Rangers approached the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline the same way they did two years ago, prudently filling specific needs and avoiding the urge to land the big-ticket, high-priced, splashy addition.

It worked in 2022. They're confident it will work in 2024 too.

"We're just trying to make deals that make the most sense for us now and for the future," general manager Chris Drury said.

The Rangers went into this week knowing they needed a right wing to play in their top-nine forward group, a third-line center to replace Filip Chytil, who has been out since Nov. 2 and will not return this season, and another defenseman to fill out their depth.

They got all three in right wing Jack Roslovic from the Columbus Blue Jackets, center Alex Wennberg from the Seattle Kraken and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel from the Pittsburgh Penguins. They all can be unrestricted free agents after this season.

Even better, the Rangers got them without trading a first-round draft pick, forward Kaapo Kakko, or any of their prospects, particularly forwards Brennan Othmann and Gabe Perreault.

"There's no doubt that these three additions do slot in and fill specific spots," Drury said. "I didn't really go into it saying it has to be this type of player, that type of player. It's just trying to find the best fit we can throughout the whole Deadline, what was available or not available on the marketplace and what we were willing to pay for it."

New York advanced to the Eastern Conference Final two years ago after acquiring Frank Vatrano for its top line, Andrew Copp for its second line, Tyler Motte for its fourth line, and defenseman Justin Braun for its third defense pair.

Last season, the Rangers went all-in, acquiring forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane in advance of the Deadline, splashy additions that made headlines, appeased their fans and brought all kinds of spotlight to the team.

It didn't work; they lost to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference First Round.

This season, the Rangers are in first place in the Metropolitan Division, four points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes with 20 games left. They didn't need to be splashy. They left that to the Hurricanes, who acquired forwards Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The Rangers needed to be smart to make a good team better without disrupting chemistry.

"I had a lot of confidence in the group going into the Deadline, and they've given me good reason to be confident," Drury said.

Roslovic could start at right wing on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider when he makes his debut against the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET; BSMW, MSG). That is where Vatrano played in 2022.

If the Rangers want to keep Kakko on the top line for the time being, Roslovic will be on the third line with Wennberg and Will Cuylle. They're not breaking up their best line of Vincent Trocheck, Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafrenière.

Roslovic arrives on a hot streak with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in Columbus' past 12 games. He has 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 40 games this season, but he missed 21 straight with an injury from Nov. 14-Dec. 27. He scored an NHL career-high 22 goals in 2021-22.

New York got Roslovic for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft that becomes a third-round selection if the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final this year and Roslovic plays in at least 50 percent of their postseason games.

Columbus is also retaining 50 percent of his $4 million average annual value.

"His skating, his skills, overall brain, I think he can play and think with elite players," Drury said. "I think he has the skill to keep up with them to make a play, which we've seen a number of times throughout his career."

Wennberg will be the Rangers' third-line center when he makes his debut Saturday. He will kill penalties and take some of the harder defensive assignments away from Zibanejad's line.

The Rangers got him from the Kraken for a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft and a fourth-round selection in the 2025 NHL Draft. Seattle retained 50 percent of Wennberg's $4.5 million AAV.

"We think he fits in nicely with the group," Drury said. "His 200-foot game, his experience, his speed, his skill, his defensive and offensive brain. He played both special teams, played a lot for Seattle."

Ruhwedel is a subtle addition for defensive depth, but he'll be necessary right away with Jacob Trouba out 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury. The Rangers gave the Penguins a fourth-round pick in the 2027 NHL Draft for Ruhwedel, who won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2017.

"I think we did get three good fits and [we’re] excited to have them on board," Drury said.