Ryan McDonagh. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Bruins remain the most likely team in the NHL to trade for Rangers star defenseman Ryan McDonagh as they are the only current contender that also has the plethora of young assets that New York covets.

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning – the only team ahead of the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings - have been rumored lately to be in on trading for McDonagh as well, but the Lightning only really have Tyler Johnson to give up. The 27-year-old Johnson is a talented scorer for sure – but by the time the Rangers are ready to contend again, the center will likely be out of his prime.

 

The Rangers covet players (that’s plural) several years younger than Johnson in return for McDonagh. The Bruins would have to part with some combination of Brandon Carlo (21-years-old, second round pick in 2015), Jake DeBrusk (21-years-old, 14th overall in 2015 draft), Peter Cehlarik (22-years-old, third round draft pick in 2013) and/or Ryan Lindgren (20-years-old, second round pick in 2016) in order to land the two-time All-Star.

 

Boston would also have to throw in future draft picks in order to get the Rangers to dance. It’s a whole lot to give up, but the acquisition of McDonagh would immediately make the Bruins the slam dunk favorites in the Eastern Conference.

 

The NHL Trade Deadline comes at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 26.