The New York Rangers season ended on May 1st. Two months and several days later the organization has made changes to compete for the Stanley Cup in 2024. Here are five thoughts on the New York Rangers off-season so.
The 37th head coach in team history was hired on June 13th, a familiar face of the Metropolitan division. Something that has been overlooked about Laviolette is that he coached teams with diverse rosters, specifically in Carolina, Philadelphia, and Nashville.
Young players like Claude Giroux and Filip Forsberg skated under Laviolette to Stanley Cup Final births where they became crucial to their respective team’s post-season success.
He also coached Justin Williams, Eric Staal, and Andrew Ladd in their early national league days to winning the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. There are parallels between these roster makeups and the current construct in New York.
That should bode well for forwards Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafrenière entering their fourth and fifth season of NHL gameplay.
The decision was somewhat lateral, and it seems Chris Drury wanted a coach he saw eye to eye with. The fact that young stars have developed under Laviolette in championship campaigns adds stock to the new regime.
Perfect Perrault :
The New York Rangers draft hasn’t been lauded for its mid to late-round selections, but the 23rd overall pick seemed to fall right into their hands.
Gabriel Perrault has an enticing tool kit, Scott Wheeler of The Athletic stated, “Gabriel Perrault could become one of the home runs of the first round if his strength piece comes along. He has a high, high-end talent and offensive IQ.”
Coming out of the USNDT, Perrault will skate with Will Smith and Ryan Leonard as freshmen for Boston College in the fall, opening their season against the national champion Quinnipiac Bobcats on Saturday, October 7th.
It’s exciting to see the Rangers select a high-profile prospect as their entry-level drafting history is lackluster.
Frugal Free Agency:
Nick Bonino: The upside to signing Bonino is massive. Another player with cup rings in New York in a bottom six role, bolstering the brawny and able fourth line. His ability to play center or on the wing will also help the team if they need an extra pivot and in the faceoff circle
Blake Wheeler: If I’m Laviolette, I slot Wheeler on Kreider and Trocheck’s wing. He’s also posted ten career playoff goals and for the price is an addition that will only break expectations. Opposite of the Kane trade…
Johnathan Quick: Three more rings arrive with Jaroslav Halak’s replacement. It goes without saying that Quick in the backup role to Igor Shesterkin who has played over 50 games the last two seasons is a serviceable addition to the team.
Tyler Pitlick: A depth piece that’s amassed 386 games played at the NHL level since 2013. It makes for a competitive camp and adds support for the third or fourth line.
Erik Gustaffson: This signing was a bit under the radar. Last season, the 31-year-old left-shot rearguard posted 7 goals and 35 assists. That would have been third on the team last season for the Rangers defenseman, one point shy of Millers’ total. He will most likely pair with Braden Schneider which may be a great balance of two-way play the Rangers lacked from their third pairing last season.
Riley Nash: Another player worth the gamble. It’s better to have competition at each position within the organization to earn positions on the roster. Why not give the 6’2 34-year-old a shot?
The stadium series is headed to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey on February 18th, 2024, featuring the Rangers and the Islanders.
The Rangers are 4-0 in outdoor games having played the Flyers, Devils, Islanders, and Sabers in Wells Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium, and Citi Field.
This may be the most intense of games on the pond for Tex’ Rangers, as the Islanders return next season with Barzal, Horvat, and Ilya Sorokin who just missed a wild card position last season. The capacity of MetLife Stadium is 82,500, a major jump from Madison Square Garden’s maximum capacity of 18,006.
The Unsigned Bunch:
Alexis Lafrenière & K’Andre Miller:
Lafrenière will likely be a low-cost bridge deal in the 1-2.5 million range. With limited cap flexibility they not only need the former first-overall draft pick to translate his junior talents to the NHL level, they need him to play well for the sake of their depth. At just 21 years old, this season may define what to expect from the Canadian phenom.
Miller signed a solid contract extension, where the young buck will earn $3,872,000 annually for the next two seasons. His offensive game was tantalizing in 2022-2023, where he tied for 17th in point scoring by a defenseman in the NHL. His defensive play featured highlights, and spells of poor play for stretches of time.
The contract will afford the Rangers some breathing room, especially next season when the cap is expected to rise by a minimum of four thousand dollars.
Tarasenko recently changed his agent after rumors swirled that the super sniper signed with the divisional rival Carolina Hurricanes. Tarasenko will have to sign for dirt cheap if the Rangers retain Goodrow and successfully ink Miller and Lafrenière to low-cost bridge contracts.
If you move Goodrow you have about 4.1 million to work with. Would that be enough to bring back “Tarasenkshow”?
I’d argue that Drury should do anything in his power to. If the window to win is here, a competitor and scorer that appears to be trying to stay in New York should receive whatever the organization can negotiate.
Even if “Showtime” is placed on LTIR, his coveted skillset simply did not deliver. Although he was third in points in the Rangers’ seven-game post-season, Kane did not fit the bill.
His hip resurfacing procedure leaves Kane sidelined until October or as late as December. Is it worth forcing the move again?
The first time go around resulted in the defense getting burned playing almost thirty minutes a night for four games to manipulate the cap, and Kane ultimately struggling to reconnect with his former linemate Panarin.
It will probably be a little while until anything regarding Kane’s decision comes to light.