The Rangers offseason so far has had changes in the rosters of the Rangers and Wolfpack along with an assistant coaching change as well. The first year of a new coach and system usually brings with it a down year and some hardships, but not last years Rangers. The talent on the Rangers withstood the change of their head coach, a brand new system, starting the year off on a long western trip, the Olympic break, the trading of their heart and soul Captain, and still made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers clearly needed a change in roster with the way they started out and it began with Asham and Powe being banished to the Rangers minor league team in Hartford. Chris Kreider was brought back up, DelZotto was also traded for Kevin Klein, the team found comfort with the new system and a few more pieces were added and taken away from the Rangers puzzle and finally the pieces seemed to fit.
With lost draft picks that were used for trades in getting Martin St. Louis, Dan Carcillo, and Rafeal Diaz, the Rangers looked to college free agents to fill the hole left in the prospects pool. The Rangers seemed to hit the jackpot in having to offer the max to a few players along with a large amount of the NHL teams hoping to land some of these top level prospects. The Rangers were chosen by winger Ryan Haggerty who worked out last summer in Connecticut with Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards(who it seems as of now might have plans on rejopining the Rangers next season which is legal by the CBA). Also choosing the Rangers over other NHL clubs was Captain of the College Champs Union College, Defenseman Matt Bodie. Vermont forward Chris McCarthy and St. Lawrence Dman Justin Baker also chose the Rangers. The Chezk defenseman of the year Petr Zamorsky also took the Rangers over other offers. The question might be WHY the Rangers compared to other clubs? The answer is simple. Look at the Rangers roster and see who are the top players, the core players. Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan,Chris Kreider, and Carl Hagelin all USA colege players. Look at Dan Girardi a Jr. player undrafted free agent who chose the Rangers. Mats Zuccarello who was an overseas free agent that chose the Rangers.
Will the heavily sought after player of this summer Kevin Hayes choose the Rangers after he wlaked away from the Blackhawks? Kevin Hayes is a 6'3" 205 lb. right wing that was born in Boston Mass. and played for Boston College. Last season he exploded for 28 goals, 39 assists for 67 points in 39 games. He comes from solid NHL level bloddlines as his brother Jimmy playes for the Florida Panthers and he is cousins with Keith Tkachuk and Tom Fitzgerald.. He will have the same chance to pick whatever team he wants after refusing to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks who drafted him in the first round of the 2010 NHL draft. Will he see an opportunity to make the direct jump to the NHL on the Rangers which seems to be the reason why he bypassed the Blackhawks? Or will he see that there are alsoalot of players already in the Rangers system and brought in fighting for the 2 or 3 open spots on the NHL roster? If he was to choose the Rangers, it would seem like a great fit to play of the right side of J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider(also a Boston College teammate) on an American Line. If Hayes doesn't choose the Rangers, it would seem that Haggerty, Fast, and a few other prospects wil battle it out for that spot. Will J.T. Miller be moved to the wing for the Brassard Zuccarello line and have Oscar Lindberg and Lombardi battle for the #3 pivot spot?
Alot of talk is that the Rangers are out of the hunt for any more players or can't make a trade due to the constraints of the 50 NHL contracts signed already. The Rangers can actually sign or recieve back in a trade 2-4 contracts depending on how many entry level contracts they slide. They have two easy players contracts that can slide and 2 can go as overage slides back to Jrs.
Alot of where the Rangers next move goes lays at the contract talks with Marc Staal. Either Sather and Gorton sign Marc Staal or the trade happens sooner rather than later. Marc Staal laid down the law earlier this summer by saying he didn't want to go through what his teammates Dan Girardi, Henrik Lundqvist, and Ryan Callahan went through last season and wants it done by camp. Camp is now only weeks away and the talks have now begun. Where this all ends up is either in Stall recieving a contract around what Girardi signed for or if he wants alot more, he might as well pack his bags and get ready for a move. Moving Staal and a few prospects could very easily bring back a very solid #2 center or even a 1st round pick in next years draft. The Rangers to date have 2 2nd round picks but no first as it was moved to Tampa in the Callahan/St. Louis deal which gave us the other #2 pick we have next year.
The Rangers seemed to pay alittle extra for players like Lombardi, Kostka, Hunwick, Kampfer,Bourque, and Mueller on their AHL contracts but it is something the Rangers can exploit in the CBA along with the other big money NHL organizations and keep solid NHL depth players in the minors waiting for callup due to injury or trade. Adding an extra year or an extra few dollars to have depth in the rugged world of the NHL is a no-brainer and the Rangers are at least 2 players deep in depth at all positions except goaltending.
LET'S GO RANGERS!!!!