Mid Summer Report: New York Rangers

download (29)By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com
As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the New York Rangers

Last Season’s Finish:  46-27-9, 101 pts, 3rd in the Metropolitan Division, lost in the first round of the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • D Nick Holden (Trade)
  • D Adam Clendening (UFA)
  • F Michael Grabner (UFA)
  • F Nathan Gerbe (UFA)
  • F Josh Jooris (UFA)
  • F Mika Zibanejad (Trade)
  • F Jimmy Vesey (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • D Keith Yandle (Florida)
  • F Eric Staal (Minnesota)
  • F Viktor Stalberg (Carolina)
  • F Derick Brassard (Ottawa)
  • D Dan Boyle (Retired)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Pavel Buchnevich
  • F Josh Jooris
  • F Brady Skjei

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/16)

  • None

Current Cap Situation as of 8/16/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $70,500,000
  • Current salary cap space: $2,500,000

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, J.T. Miller, Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner, Tanner Glass, Maxim Lapierre, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Nathan Gerbe, Josh Jooris, Jimmy Vesey
Defensemen
Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein, Nick Holden, Brady Skjei, Dylan McIlrath, Adam Clendening
Goalies
Henrik Lundqvist, Antti Raanta

 

Outlook:
The Rangers had a strong season last year, but ran into a white hot Pittsburgh Penguins team in the first round of the playoffs.  The Penquins quickly dispatched the Rangers in 5 games, en route to their 4th Stanley Cup Championship.  But, this article isn’t about the Penguins.  In this off season, the Rangers were pretty active in order to keep their team competitive.  First, they traded Keith Yandle to Florida for a draft pick, because they knew they wouldn’t be able to fit him under the Salary Cap.  Then, they let Eric Staal and Vicktor Stalberg go to free agency.  Then, they made a trade with Ottawa that sent Derick Brassard there, and brought in Mika Zibanejad.  Zibanejad is younger (23 vs 28) and cheaper (by about half) than Brassard, but last season produced only 9 fewer points.   Finally, they won the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and signed him to an entry level contract just last week. Oh, and by the way, defenseman Dan Boyle also retired.  So the Rangers have fixed some of the cap issues that they have been dealing with, all while keeping most of the core of the team together.  They will have to rely on some younger players that they didn’t have to last season, so there will be some growing pains there, but at the end of the year, the Rangers should find their way back into the playoffs for the 11th time in the last 12 years.