Examining three Rangers RFAs and what the organization should do with them
In the years to come, where many different faces will throw on a Rangers sweater, some prospects have contracts that are running out. But the decision on who will stay with the club is up to the organization.
The 23-year-old American who has skated in 35 games for the Rangers in the past year and a half without much success, is a RFA who I’d expect the Rangers to re-sign after this season. Although only producing five points in his short stint in the big leagues, Lettieri has posted good enough numbers in Hartford and in college, so I wouldn’t expect the Rangers to give up so soon. In 23 games for the Wolf Pack this season, Lettieri is averaging a point-per-game. In 2017-18, Lettieri skated in 55 games for the Wolf Pack, tallying 36 points, with 26 being goals. Lettieri holds the ability of being flexible in a future Rangers lineup, playing center or right wing, and since he already has experience in the NHL and has improved numbers in Hartford this season, I’d expect to see Lettieri get another shot at making the club come next year.
Cristoval ‘Boo” Nieves
Here is a guy who has a decent amount of time played with the Rangers over the past coupe of seasons. It could be argued that if Nieves hadn’t suffered a concussion earlier in the year, he could’ve spent a lot more time with the Rangers this season. The centerman/winger has had flashes of goal scoring, when given the ice time. With his contract coming up this summer, there is no doubt in my mind that Neives will be with the Rangers come opening night next year, as well as playing with the club at the end of this season.
With the possibility of the Rangers trading away valuable everyday roster players at the deadline, Neives could potentially see himself playing daily for the Blueshirts in the second half of the year. Playing in 45 games for the Rangers over the course of a couple of years, Nieves has a total of 16 points. I still believe that Neives is part of the plan for the Rangers in the future, so I don’t see the club stepping away from him this summer.
The last of the Rangers prospects to be an RFA this summer is centerman Steven Fogarty. Out of these three guys, the one I can see the Rangers letting go would be Fogarty. He’s only skated in 11 games in his NHL career, tallying zero points, but it’s due to the circumstances around him that may allow the Rangers to let him walk. With center being a hot position for the Rangers already, Fogarty isn’t near the top of the list when it comes to giving guys a shot in the big leagues.
Let’s say the Rangers re-sign Kevin Hayes instead of trading him, the list of Rangers centermen ahead of Fogarty is long. Hayes, Brett Howden, Filip Chytil, Zibanejad, Lias Andersson, and Boo Neives just to name a few. A lot of those guys are flexible to go on the wing as well, which gives them more of a shot to get re-signed and, ultimately, make the team compared to Fogarty. Although his numbers in Hartford this season are good, tallying 22 points in 32 games, if I had to pick an RFA I can see the Rangers letting go this summer, it would be Fogarty.