Chris Kreider – Derek Stepan – Jimmy Vesey
Pavel Buchnevich – Mika Zibanejad – Mats Zuccarello
Michael Grabner – Kevin Hayes – J.T. Miller
Nicklas Jensen – Dominic Moore – Jesper Fast
The New York Rangers will retain most of their forward corps. Returnees Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Jimmy Vesey make up an All-American first line. Pavel Buchnevich who played often with Mika Zibanejad as did Mats Zuccarello, comprise an alphabet soup second line. I think Zibanejad will sign a deal almost identical to the one Derick Brassard signed in the 2014 off-season.
The third line of Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller makes an encore. The line numbers don’t matter that much on paper. Each line can be shifted more or less depending on how they’re playing during a game or stretch of games.
Nicklas Jensen, a pending restricted free agent, will be signed to a short, cheap contract. I think one of Jesper Fast or Oscar Lindberg will either be selected in the Expansion Draft or traded. For sake of argument, I’ll say that it will be Lindberg, and Fast maintains his spot.
Rounding out the fourth line will be the annual defensively responsible forward free agent signing that the Rangers seem to like to make. Perhaps a reunion with fan favorite Dominic Moore will be in order.
There will be a few departures, including Lindberg. Rick Nash will be moved, with salary retained, for a package of picks and prospects. This will open up some cap space for re-signing the Rangers restricted free agents and a few unrestricted free agents.