Ryan McDonagh – Kevin Shattenkirk
Brendan Smith – Brady Skjei
Alexei Bereglazov – Kevin Klein
Starting with the easy stuff, Captain Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei are locks. Brendan Smith signs with the Rangers in the neighborhood of $4-4.5MM for four years. The Rangers sign coveted Unrestricted Free Agent Kevin Shattenkirk to a seven year deal in the ballpark of $6.5-7MM.
However, then things get tricky. In my (dream) scenario, the Rangers bribe the Vegas Golden Knights to select Nick Holden. Depending on how valuable the Golden Knights view Holden, the cost to do this may vary from a later round draft pick to a prospect to a bottom-six roster player such as Jesper Fast.
Dan Girardi (instead of Marc Staal) is traded to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Kari Lehtonen. This is because Girardi will have a limited no-trade clause come July 1st. The Rangers will then buyout Lehtonen and to wrap things up, also buyout Staal.
Neal Pionk will need at least a year in the AHL to season, as will Sean Day. Adam Clendening will be allowed to walk, as Alain Vigneault does not see him fitting into the team. Ryan Graves does not impress in training camp and Vigneault sticks to his veterans.
Alexei Bereglazov makes the team partially due to his KHL out-clause. Kevin Klein remains and rounds out the top-six. Re-signed Steven Kampfer remains as the team’s seventh defenseman.