While many teams are gearing up for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Drury and the New York Rangers are getting right to work on their offseason. A lot has happened in Rangerstown this season. Who remembers Tony DeAngelo and the fact he might have had a burner account? Or what about the time Artemiy Panarin might have been threatened by the Russian government? All of that happened on top of the Tom Wilson incident and John Davidson, Jeff Gorton, and David Quinn losing their jobs. Chris Drury has a laundry list of items he needs to accomplish this offseason. Let’s break down what needs to get done.
Finding a New Head Coach
This one is obvious. Drury needs to find David Quinn’s replacement. Earlier this week, I broke down the four most likely candidates that would find themselves in the interview room with Chris Drury. My choice, Gerard Gallant, interviewed with the Rangers on Friday. According to reports, the interview went very well. Hopefully, we are looking at the next head coach of the New York Rangers.
Finding a Top Center
Mika Zibanejad is a number one center in the NHL. However, the Rangers lack center depth and have an abundance of young wingers and defenseman. Most likely, Drury will use his depth at winger to acquire another top center (*cough* Jack Eichel *cough*). Eichel had himself a down season with the Sabres that included the Sabres refusing to let him get the surgery he needed. Eichel has expressed his frustrations with the club, but has not explicitly asked to be traded. The Rangers have the pieces to pull of this blockbuster, and Chris Drury should make sure it gets done.
Trading Chris Kreider
It would be hard to take on a contract like Eichel’s without shedding some salary. Even though the Rangers have a lot of money coming off the books, it would be wise to move some salary. The most obvious choice is Chris Kreider. Kreider just finished the first year of a 7-year contract and the Rangers should look to move it before any no-trade clause kicks in. I think the most intriguing trade partner would be the Seattle Kraken. With $81.5 million in cap space, the Rangers can ship Kreider to Seattle for some draft compensation and the promise to select Brett Howden or Libor Hajek in the upcoming expansion draft. Kreider is the longest tenured Ranger, but he is too inconsistent and disappears for weeks at a time to be worth his cap hit.
Trading for Matthew Tkachuk
If the Tom Wilson incident exposed anything about the Rangers, they lack some grit on the ice. Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren could have handled it, but neither were dressed that night. Matthew Tkachuk solves that issue. They do not need players like Tanner Glass or Cody Mcleod who don’t really possess any real hockey skill. Tkachuk is the perfect blend of gritty and get under your skin kind of player, but also is really good at playing hockey. He is the type of player the Rangers wanted Brendan Lemieux to be. However, Tkachuk is on a whole other level than Lemieux.
This is a very important offseason for the New York Rangers. James Dolan essentially said he is tired of the rebuild and wants to start winning now. That means literally anything is on the table for the team. The only players we know for sure who are safe are Panarin, Adam Fox, Alexis Lafreniere, and Mika Zibanejad. Anyone else could be traded. That means Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, K’Andre Miller (but that is a very low chance), or even Jacob Trouba (but also very very unlikely). Drury has his work cut out for him this offseason in wanting to prove himself as the guy. Buckle up Rangers fans, it is going to be a wild offseason.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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