Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers Holes After Free Agency

The New York Rangers lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals due to a lack of size down the middle. After the first week of free agency they have yet to address that need. There is also an area of need in the lack of righties in the lineup with eleven lefty shots! Currently Derrick Stepan is the only right-handed forward in the NHL lineup. If any combination of Oscar Lindberg, JT Miller, or Jesper Fast enter the lineup on a regular basis, all are lefties so it does nothing to address the lack of right-handed shots in the top twelve forwards. General Manager Glen Sather needs to find a top six Center with some size. A trade for Joe Thornton might not be such a bad idea. They have just over fourteen million to fill three of twelve forward spots. Two of those spots will be taken up by Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard. Only one or two forward spots need to be filled with the remainder of cap space after those two contracts. Could be between three and four million to spend on one more player but that may not be enough. A trade to clear some space could help the New York Rangers find that big centerman.

The New York Rangers don’t have many trade chips to use in a trade with another team

New York Rangers General Manager Glen Sather retooled the minor league system with some veteran players but still has not addressed the lack or size down the middle and the scarcity of right-handed shots. The Unrestricted Free Agent pool is rather shallow now leaving little to choose from and very little money to spend to address it. If Glen Sather wants to add the right players he may need to trade a roster player to do so. Marc Staal is his best trade chip the New York Rangers have and Conner Allen is very much ready for the show. A trade involving him wouldn’t open up another hole on the roster and the New York Rangers could either shed salary buy adding draft picks. Or acquire a player with a righty shot.  Carl Hagelin has a cap friendly salary and wouldn’t really get n equal return. Rick Nash has a ridiculous contract and hasn’t played up to it so it’s unlikely any team would send equal value on him either. JT Miller, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, and Danny Kristo are the last NHL calibre prospects the New York Rangers have at the moment. Trading Marc Staal is the best option General Manager Glen Sather has.

There is still a few free agent right wingers out there the New York Rangers can Sign

Devin Setoguchi May be a decent fit of all the remaining unrestricted free agents. He’s bounced around since being traded by the San Jose Sharks. He’s young, shoots right handed, skates well and has some offensive ability. He had his best season in 08/09 when he scored thirty-one goals and had sixty-five points in San Jose. He carried a three million dollar cap hit for last year and is now sitting on the scrap heap waiting for a contract. He may take the first one offered at this point. He would fit well playing on the right side of Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard as a potent second or third line. Right now the New York Rangers have the same Centers as last season minus Brad Richards. A big Centerman is an important piece Glen Sather has to find and add to the top six.

 The Problems the New York Rangers are faced with began when the Salary Cap was set at sixty-nine Million.

With the salary cap set at sixty-nine million the New York Rangers left some questions heading into the 14/15 season after the opening of free agency. They let Anton Stralman (TB), Benoit Pouliot (EDM), and Brian Boyle(TB) Leave via free agency. The free agents New York Rangers General Manager brought in Dan Boyle, and Tanner Glass are not really filling holes per se. However, in not spending five million dollars on one journeyman player like Benoit Pouliot he showed there is no winning by extorting Glen Sather. Mike Kostka, Chris Mueller, and Matt Hunwick were signed as replacements but will either be healthy scratches most nights or play in the minors unless an injury should occur. Glen Sather stood firm in not budging and in doing so he restocked the farm team. None of the players lost were game breakers. They were solid complementary players that were not a part of the core of the team but were big factors in the run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Currently the New York Rangers are left with a little over $14 million in salary cap space to fill five roster spots. They still have to resign Restricted Free Agents Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard, and Chris Kreider. John Moore is also a Restricted Free Agent but he should not be a problem to resign or hurt the teams cap space in any substantial way. Mats Zuccarello led the team in scoring during the regular season and with thirteen points in twenty-five playoff games. He did his job when it mattered most. Derick Brassard scored six goals and twelve points in the playoffs and most of them were huge tallies. So both of these players were fan favorites and should be resigned. Chris Kreider should be a rather easy signing. Likely to a two-year bridge deal like the one Derek Stepan signed last summer in the two million range.

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