Busy week ahead for New York Rangers with expansion protected lists due by Saturday

rangers forsberg
Nov 2, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) and New York Rangers defenseman Libor Hajek (25) battle in front of New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers probably have a very good idea of who they will lose in the Seattle Expansion draft in just nine days. With the signing of Brett Howden to a one-year deal, it has given them more options as to whom they can protect.

If they so choose now, they can protect either Howden, Colin Blackwell, or Kevin Rooney. My best guess is that it’s a toss up between Howden and Blackwell. The Rangers are likely eyeing UFAs Blake Coleman, or Barclay Goodrow to center the fourth line, so protecting Rooney seems redundant.

The Rangers must submit their protected list on Saturday (7/17). All teams’ lists will be public on Sunday.

Will the Rangers sign any other RFAs this week?

Libor Hajek
Libor Hajek (NHLI via Getty Images)

Libor Hajek may be in the works, but it’s possible they will wait on Julien Gauthier. If the Seattle Kraken sign an RFA, they will owe the Rangers compensation.

The Rangers do not need to sign Hajek ahead of the expansion draft on July 21st. Either Tony DeAngelo or Anthony Bitetto both help them achieve the minimum requirement of exposing a defenseman under contract for next season with games played.

So the Rangers could opt to do the following:

Scenario 1: Sign Hajek and protect him. Expose Bitetto and buyout DeAngelo

Scenario 2: Leave Hajek as an RFA, expose DeAngelo, and protect Bitetto – buyout DeAngelo after expansion draft

Either way, the Rangers have a few additional decisions to make.

Rangers projected protected list

The Rangers can protect RFA’s, and they must also protect any player with a NMC. Here’s my protected list:

The only real change I see would be Howden in place of Blackwell and definitely Hajek (if signed) over Bitetto.

One of the blessings for the Blueshirts is their youth which exempts all their young stars. Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and Igor Shesterkin are all off limits to Seattle.

Assistant coaches on tap this week

“I will get my coaching staff in place in the next week or so,” Gallant told NHL Network on Friday. “[We] want to get down to work, and get ready for the season.” These comments align with the team’s approach since he was officially announced as the new head coach back in late June.

One potential candidate that is most likely to be on his staff is Mike Kelly. Gallant seemed to tip his hand about it when asked at his intro presser.

“There’s no decision yet made on staff,” heanswered. “We’re talking to a lot of people, like you said Mike Kelly has been around a long time with my staff, we’ll see where that goes but there’s nothing done with anybody yet. We’re just talking to guys.”

So, it looks like a busy week is on tap for Chris Drury. He’s not the only one, as this is expected to be a wild offseason with plenty of movement all in a short time span.

NHL Free Agents

Free agent frenzy is set for July 27th, here’s a look at some of the top UFAs heading to the market. Read more.


Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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