UPDATE: The Rangers have traded Casey Wellman to the Florida Panthers for the Panthers #5 round pick in the reported 2014 draft. The Rangers had recieved Wellman from Minnesota for Christensen and the Rangers #7 round in the 2013 draft. The 2013 draft is a much deeper in the talent and prospects. The Rangers at this point, have 5 picks in the first 3 rounds. Besides having their own picks in the 1st two rounds, they have Florida's--Nashville's, and their own in the third round. They also have their 4th and 6th round also. You could see by the below Hartford lineup that Wellman was not in the Rangers future plans and got a pick instead of nothing for just not resigning him. Just Sather getting something for nothing.
Let's try to remember all the way back to last year as the Rangers were getting ready to go overseas to start their preseason and ask, ARE THE RANGERS BETTER TODAY THAN THEY WERE LAST YEAR TO START THE SEASON? Let's remember that Marc Staal was injured and a question mark much like Mike Sauer is this offseason. There were questions for two forward positions with the main problem was finding a player to compliment the Brad Richards/Marian Gaborik combo. The other huge question was who would fill the #1 defenseman position with Marc Staal out still suffering concussion symptems. Last years preseason projected lines looked something along this: Wolski--Richards--Gaborik Girardi--McDonagh Dubinsky--Anisimov--Callahan Sauer --DelZotto Fedetenko-Stepan--Avery Bell---Wyowitka- Rupp ---Boyle Prust Christensen
During the season the Rangers tweaked the team throughout their return to America. The season had many highlights throughout along with injuries that forced changes along with players showing that they couldn't either play for long spurts at the NHL level or could play the Rangers system. The Rangers, during the season, banished Avery, Bell, and Wolski to the minors, and sat Wyowitka for most of the season after he suffered an injury. The Rangers brought up players from their system in Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Mats Zuccarello, Stu Bickel, and Tim Erixon for a few cups of coffee. Antan Stralman was brought in and exceeded what everyone thought he could achieve with the Rangers. There are also changes this offseason as the Rangers have chosen to move on from some players while a popular Ranger in the locker room and fanbase, Brandon Prust went for a big payday. So far the Rangers G.M. Glen Sather hasn't signed a bigtime contract this offseason or pulled the trigger on a bigname trade to break up the Rangers core. The Rangers have lost Ruslan Fedetenko, John Mitchell, Brandon Prust, Bell, John Scott, Eric Christensen, and Jeff Wyowitka. The Rangers have added to the core group of Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Michael DelZotto, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, and Brandon Dubinsky with the immergence of Carl Hagelin, breakout year for Ryan McDonagh, and playoff star Chris Kreider. Most experts are still expecting the Rangers to pull the trigger on a bigname deal for a defenseman such as Keith Yandle, Jay Bouwmester, Shea Weber(they were very close to a deal before Weber decided he didn't want to live in N.Y.C.) which would then most likely lead to the Rick Nash trade being finalized. Without those huge moves, the Rangers lineup should look something like this going into the season as they stand at this time: (some players are of of position)
Hagelin---Richards--Gaborik(back in December)/ Anisimov Girardi--McDonagh Kreider-- Stepan --Callahan Staal --DelZotto
Dubinsky-- Boyle --Pyatt Bickel/Erixon--Stralman
Rupp -- Halpern --Asham
The Rangers system doesn't have many openings at this time as they are lucky that this seasons draftees don't have to be signed for a few years. The Rangers have last years pick Steven Fogarty along with this seasons Brady Skjei and Cristoval Nieves going to college while Calle Andersson and Thomas Spelling are playing overseas in the Swedish Elite League. In Hartford(Baldwin has stopped investing in the "WHALE" so hopefully the WOLFPACK is BACK!), the lineup should look something as such:
Christian Thomas-Kris Newbury- Ryan Bourque Wade Redden-Dylan McIlrath
Andrew Yogan -J.T. Miller - Chad Kolarik Mike Vernace-Blake Parlett Marek Hrivik -Mike Haley- Kyle Jean Jyri Niemi -Logan Pyett Tommy Grant -Jason Wilson- Brandon Segal Sean Collins
At this time it seems the Rangers rosters are full, and that is with the college / overseas prospects / other league signees, and JR's accounted for. Players such as Jesper Fasth, Oscar Lindberg, Mats Zuccarello, Pavel Valentenko, Andreas Thuresson, Mikhail Pashnin, Shane McColgan, Michael St.Croix, and Samuel Noreau are some of the main players of note.
The Rangers oraganization met before the draft and they have a very strong hold on who they will and who they won't let go in a trade. Trades happen is strange ways and Sather makes things happen. I remember a few years ago I heard of a trade in which Rozsival was being traded for Avery(when he was on Dallas). The deal never happened but Rozsival was traded to the Coyotes and Avery came back through waiver pickup. Besides all the buzz going around with the Rick Nash deal, I hear the Rangers will get a defensman before they make the move for Nash. They went hard after Weber and have inquired about Boyle and Yandle. Those are bigtime dmen so could Staal be going to play with his brothers in Carolina? Has Dubinsky played his last game as a Ranger? Will Pyatt/Asham/Haley/Halpern be an upgrade over Prust/Fedetenko/Mitchell/Avery? Will the Rangers stand pat and keep adding youth? The time is now and I do NOT see Sather not trading a few chips. Remember Ranger fans, we have to GIVE something to GET something. From Last year to this year, the Rangers are a quicker and bigger team which seemed to work for Stanley Cup L.A. last season. LET'S GO RANGERS!!