New York Rangers : Depth in the AHL, Bottom Six

facebooktwitterreddit

After an offseason full of depth moves, writer Mike Ries looks at what he thinks the New York Rangers will do with it.

As the New York Rangers and General Manager Jeff Gorton transition from the previous regime continues, it is becoming clearer that his focus is on adding depth and stability through the minor league ranks.  As I have discussed previously, the signings at the AHL level have gone practically unnoticed by many.

The fact is, those signings are the cornerstones of rebuilding a franchise that has been foolhardy at times with free agent signing and spending in general.  The New York Rangers are a team that has not had great luck in the past with their draft picks and consequently, were hasty in trading them away for a quick fix in the form of an aging player.

The New York Rangers fan base is one of the most demanding in all of pro sports

This is where it gets tricky for Gorton and his staff as they must rebuild on the fly and not disassemble the team completely and completely anger the New York Rangers fan base.  A perfect example is the management team giving defenceman Dan Giradi a vote of confidence and not cutting ties with the aging defenceman.  Look to the Vancouver Canucks as they are in the same boat as the Rangers.  But they have made some questionable roster moves in the recent months.

More from Editorials

The Rangers, on the other hand, have made wise free agent signings shoring up the bottom 6 forwards and adding depth on the defense. They also made wise choices with the few lower draft picks that they had in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.  Building for the future and realizing they must field a competitive team at the same time.  The Rangers brain trust has done everything they can to fill both needs.

What is most likely next move for the New York Rangers?

With the signings of Michael GrabnerNathan Gerbe, and Adam Clendening, two of which I don’t fully expect to see much action with the parent club (Gerbe and Clendening) unless they unseat a rookie or two out of training camp.  Most likely Gerbe will be in and out of the lineup to start the season, giving Gorton and his staff a better feel for what they have in the 28-year-old who is not the player he was only a few seasons ago.  Grabner on the other hand will no doubt start the season in the top 9 and again depending on the influx of rookies in the roster, he may fall to the to the fourth line at times.

Most likely Gerbe will be in and out of the lineup to start the season, giving Gorton and his staff a better feel for what they have in the 28-year-old who is not the player he was only a few seasons ago.  Grabner on the other hand, will no doubt start the season in the top 9 and again depending on the influx of rookies in the roster, he may fall to the to the fourth line at times.

With the number of free agents still on the market dwindling, there are a couple that New York could take a shot with;

Brandon Pirri

The unrestricted free agent and former second round pick is an appetizing player for New York.  He is a proven goal scorer and would fit nicely into the Rangers rebuilding plans.  He would be a nice fit on the second line and with the price being low to sign him, a low risk investment the Rangers certainly will consider.

Brandon Prust

The former New York Rangers fan favorite is also an unrestricted free agent and would look good back in a Rangers uniform.  His situation is a little different as he would only be a fit on the fourth line and when you have the likes of Tanner Glass still under contract it may not make much sense to bring “Prusty” back into the fold.  But it would be an upgrade for sure.

It will be very interesting to see how the remaining open spots on the Rangers are filled with the rookies and free agent signings.  One thing is for sure; the Rangers will be an entertaining team this coming season.