A few months ago, Rangers fans were left wondering what type of shakeup was going to happen at MSG for the Rangers. 1st year G.M. had left Sather's Rangers mainly together while bringing in forward Eric Staal at the trade deadline but coach Alain Vigneault didn't use him for what he was brought in for the same way as Keith Yandle wasn't used to replace Dan Boyle like he should have been used. Everyone knew that changes were coming, but who would go and who would stay was the question. With the end of August almost upon us, the Rangers 2016/2017 roster is coming a little bit clearer. The Rangers now have 47 NHL contracts signed out of the 50 alloted to each team. This summer Rangers G.M. made moves and purged the prospect pool letting go of players that he didn't think made the Rangers a better organization. There are now only 18 players out of the 47 that are still left from the Sather era that Gorton hasn't resigned are brought in.
Jeff Gorton, this summer has re-signed Antti Raanta, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Dylan McIlrath that will all play roles in the NHL this year. He made trades to bring in Mika Zibanejad and Nick Holden for the Rangers 23 man roster. Unrestricted Free Agents Jimmy Vesey, Adam Clendening, Nathan Gerbe, Michael Grabner, and Josh Jooris were brought in to replace the players let go. Free agent players Adam Chapie, Malte Stromwall, Michael Paliotta, and John Gilmour were brought in to bring the Rangers organizational depth. After looking at the long term projections of players in the minors and drafted picks, G.M. Gorton signed Pavel Buchnevich, Ryan Gropp, Brian Halverson, Boo Nieves, Steven Fogarty, Chris Summers, Nicklas Jensen, Matt Bodie, Tommy Hughes, Robin Kovacs, Sergey Zborovskiy, and Marek Hrivik. It seems that Pavel Buchnevich and Nicklas Jensen would have the best shots at NHL spots this coming season with Matt Bodie being the AHL Wolfpack captain(the captain's C was on a tweet from the Wolfpack about their new jersey this summer).
The Rangers that were under contract that Gorton has left on the team and in the organization are Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello, Tanner Glass, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Captain Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein, Brady Skjei, Henrik Lundqvist, Adam Tambellini, Troy Donnay, Mackenzie Skapski, Ryan Graves, Magnus Hellberg, and Calle Andersson. With G.M. Gorton making this his team, it would make sense that at least one of these will be moved before this seasons trade deadline.
The Rangers are a question mark of how they will perform this season as they have alot of youth, skill and speed; but how coach Alain Vigneault uses these players will depend on how successful they will be. The Rangers have brought in Maxim Lapierre to a PTO for who knows what, except that he was a player for A.V. in the past. With players Pavel Buchnevich, Jimmy Vesey, Nick Holden, Adam Clendening, Josh Jooris, and Mika Zibanejad looking for NHL spots, this team should be faster and more skilled than the team knocked out in the 1st round of the playoffs last season. The forwards seem to be overcrowded and will either have to trade one or two or lose them when they have to pass through waivers before the season starts. The most likely that they would lose will be Nicklas Jensen and Marek Hrivik. In goal the Rangers will still be one of the best with Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Raanta. The problem is the question marks on the defense. The solid producers will again be Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein. Brady Skjei will be be a fulltime player taking to the spot of Keith Yandle. Nick Holden will be replacing Dan Boyle. The question marks for the Rangers are players who were the cornerstone for many years in Marc Staal and Dan Giradi. Could it be that the two most veteran Ranger defensemen are done or was it just an off year because of all the extra playoff games and non rest over the last few years? I think they will both bounce back after a long summers rest. Without any major changes, next years Rangers roster could look like:
Kreider--Stepan--Nash/ Zuccarello--Zibanejad--Miller/ Vesey--Hayes--Buchnevich/ Grabner--Gerbe--Fast with Lindberg and Jooris as the forwards. On defense: McDonagh--Klein/ Staal--Skjei/ Holden--Girardi with McIlrath and Clendening with The King and Rantta between the pipes. During the season there will be callups and a trade or two to make this team better than last years.
LET'S GO RANGERS!!!