Forecasting what the Rangers will do with their RFAs this season
In a previous post, I discussed what I think the Rangers will do with their pending UFAs. Here we are going to take a look at the pending RFAs for the Blueshirts coming up in 2020.
RFA – Brendan Lemieux, Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo, Alexander Georgiev
Brendan Lemieux – Lemieux was acquired from Winnipeg at the 2019 trade deadline in a deal that sent Kevin Hayes to the Jets. Lemieux, who signed a one year deal before the start of the season, will be up again next summer. The one year deal he signed was for $925,000, and in his next deal he will certainly want more term, and a pay raise. Lemieux who has become a fan favorite with his pesky attitude and style, tough nose hockey, and of course his famous white stick, is someone many would like to see on Broadway for a sustainable amount of time. Lemieux is not only a bottom-6 forward who is tough, but he also has a scoring touch to his game. He has been running on the second power play unit, where he had a beautiful tip-in goal the other night against the Hurricanes. Lemieux currently has 5 points in 13 games, and has played well for the Blueshirts thus far. I can see the Rangers giving Lemieux a similar deal to Fast, somewhere in the 3-4 year range, carrying an AAV of $2.5-3.5 million.
Decision – re-signed to a new deal deal.
Ryan Strome – Strome started the year as the second line center behind Zibanejad, and was the whipping boy for the first few games of the year. After Quinn decided to split the top line up, Strome had Panarin on his wing. Since the move, and the injury to top line center Mika Zibanejad, Strome has been, dare I say, great. He has 16 points in 16 games for the Rangers, and has been extremely noticeable on the ice.
Many will say that it’s just because he is playing with Panarin, and yes, while Panarin will help people compile points and elevate their game, not just any center can play with a winger as talented as Artemi Panarin. What I mean is you have to be good to play with good players. Strome is a huge question mark for Rangers brass, but I do think with the re-emergence of Filip Chytil as the 2C, the Rangers will move on from Strome before the deadline. The only way I can see them keeping him is if he takes a 2-3 year deal, carrying an AAV of $3.5 million, but that will make it tough for the cap crunched Rangers of next summer.
Decision – Traded.
Tony DeAngelo – DeAngelo signed a one year deal ($925,000) with the Rangers at the very end of the summer. The Rangers had all the leverage in the negotiations being that he was an RFA with no arbitration rights. After some fighting back and forth, DeAngelo, who wanted more term and a higher AAV, decided to take what was given to him and use this year as one more prove it year…and “proving it” he has been.
In 16 games, DeAngelo leads all Rangers defensemen with 14 points. He’s tied for third on the team with Buchnevich in points behind Panarin (19), and Strome (16). He has been on both power play units, and has been filling up the stat sheet. When DeAngelo was acquired from the Coyotes, there were a ton of questions about his attitude and consistency on the ice, particularly in his own end.
Now at 24 years old, he is coming into his own and has developed into a very good defenseman. DeAngelo will be a very difficult decision for Rangers brass for many reasons. First of all, the amount of money and term he will want/get. Second of all, the Rangers have Trouba and Fox that are both RHD, and will likely be adding top prospect Nils Lundkvist to the fold next season (who is also a RHD). DeAngelo is also a right shot, and even though I do not agree with it, some teams feel the need to have righty-lefty on every pair, even though the Blackhawks won a Stanley Cup with a top-pair of two right handed shots.
If this is the case, due to money/term, and the “glut” on the right side with Lundkvist likely coming over next summer, the Rangers might move on from DeAngelo. In the end, I think Rangers brass is smart enough to realize the kind of player they have in DeAngelo, and they decide to keep him with 4 RHDs next year. I beleive DeAngelo will fetch a 4-5 year deal, carrying an AAV of $4.5-5 million.
Decision – new long term deal.
*My D-Pairs for next year with some jumbling around*
Fox – Trouba
Hajek – DeAngelo
Miller – Lundkvist
7th Defenseman – Staal
Rangers have a decision to make in Brady Skjei.
Alexander Georgiev – At 23 years old, Georgiev has become a very big discussion around Rangerstown. After being an unsigned free agent, Georgiev has found himself as Lundqvist’s 1B this season. He has played fantastic all year, aside from the one start against Ottawa, and is making things very difficult on Rangers brass. As we all know, the heir apparent to Lundqvist’s throne currently sits in Hartford where he (Igor Shesterkin) has been utterly brilliant for the team’s AHL club. It’s only a matter of time before he takes the crown as the new king of The Garden Ice, when number 30 hangs the pads up and eventually has his number lifted into the MSG rafters forever.
Georgiev is an RFA next summer, and it is difficult to gauge what his next contract will look like regardless of where he is. Shesterkin will be on the big club next year, and Lundqvist still has one more year left on his contract. Because of these circumstances, this leaves Georgiev as the odd man out. I do believe the Rangers are auditioning Georgiev this season, and he will be moved at the deadline, or next summer because he is an RFA. Unfortunately the yield for a goaltender is never that high, so I expect the Rangers to get likely a second and third round pick in exchange for him.
Decision – Traded.