The picture above characterizes this slide: exit Vladimir Tarasenko and enter Blake Wheeler. The veteran right-winger signed with the Rangers on a one-year, $800,000 contract this offseason. Wheeler was the team’s marquee signing this offseason so far, and he will immediately be slotted into an important role.
Does this mean top-six minutes? Probably, at least for the start, depending on what Peter Laviolette has in mind. Wheeler provides the goal-scoring and experience necessary for a team that is in a high-scoring division. The hope is he can also mentor wingers, such as Kaapo Kakko, into reaching their potential.
Wheeler’s role will fluctuate throughout the season, especially around the trade deadline, but he will always be key for New York.
The same will be said about other veterans that Chris Drury brought in, such as Tyler Pitlick, Nick Bonino, and Erik Gustaffson. These players need to perform suitably and fill holes in the lineup in order for the Rangers to compete.