New York Rangers: Predicting changes on defense

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

Lou Venditti-

Ryan McDonagh-Kevin Shattenkirk

Brendan Smith-Brady Skjei

Marc Staal-Neal Pionk/Alexei Bereglazov/Ryan Graves

When it comes to the Rangers defense, there are a ton of questions to be answered coming into the offseason. First, re-signing Brendan Smith should be an immediate priority. Smith flourished with the Rangers, especially paired with Brady Skjei, and he deserves at least a three year deal from the Rangers.

Dan Girardi will be bought out, but Marc Staal will remain with the team. Staal has shown himself to be more salvageable than Girardi in recent years, so it’s fine to keep him on board in a limited role. Nick Holden will go to Vegas in the expansion draft.

Additionally, Kevin Shattenkirk will get to come home to Westchester and play with the Rangers. The 6th defenseman very well may be a rotating door, though. With that, Neal Pionk, Alexei Bereglazov, and Ryan Graves are all wildcard options for the 6th spot.

Still, if Pionk or Betrglazov are ready out of camp, it’d be hard to pass up. Graves is more of a long shot, but he could take Staal’s place in the future on the left side.