How the 2023-24 New York Rangers roster was constructed
The New York Rangers have basically just begun their 98th season, inching closer to their Centennial Season in 2025-26. As one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the current lineup features a former Norris Trophy winner, a former Vezina Trophy winner, and a 50-goal scorer. Although the franchise has yet to capture another Stanley Cup title since 1994, there’s no denying they remain a threat to win this year.
Since becoming general manager, former Rangers captain Chris Drury has been busy reshaping the roster, one that came within two games of reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2022. Even though a good portion of the lineup (14 skaters) still wear a Blueshirt from before his hiring in May 2021, Drury has brought in numerous players to keep New York in contention for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Considering the Rangers have the league’s 19th-highest payroll, we will look at how this current roster came together, whether skaters made their way to the Big Apple through the draft, free agency, or trade. Ultimately, this year’s team looks quite different from last year’s, so here’s a refresher for everyone.
2023-24 New York Rangers Roster
NHL Entry Draft – Nine Players (40.9%)
Interestingly, New York’s longest-tenured player, Chris Kreider, is the only draft pick left from this century’s first decade, joining the organization as the 19th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. After that, the next prospect turned pro still with the franchise is netminder Igor Shesterkin, who came to the Rangers as the 118th overall pick (fourth round) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Surprisingly, the team’s top picks from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 draft classes remain in New York. First, it was Filip Chytil (2017/21st overall), followed by K’Andre Miller (2018/22nd overall), and Kaapo Kakko (2019/2nd overall). Additionally, Zac Jones (2019/68th overall) came to the organization before the Rangers earned the top pick in the 2020 Entry Draft, selecting Alexis Lafrenière first overall. Moreover, the club’s most recent draft picks skating at The Garden includes Braden Schneider (2020/19th overall) and Will Cuylle (2020/60th overall).
Free Agency – Eight Players (36.3%)
Before being relieved of his duties as general manager in May 2021, Jeff Gorton had acquired Artemi Panarin in July 2019, inking the Russian superstar to a blockbuster seven-year deal. Although there were plenty of signings between 2019 and 2021, no players remain with the club, meaning that one of Drury’s first lineup additions still in New York is Vincent Trocheck, who agreed to a seven-year pact in July 2022. Additionally, a few months later, he brought back Jimmy Vesey for a second tour of duty in October 2022.
However, after a disappointing first-round playoff exit at the hands of the rival New Jersey Devils, Drury was one of the busiest general managers at the start of free agency on July 1, 2023. Attempting to bolster his lineup, he added five veteran players that day, which included forwards Blake Wheeler, Nick Bonino, Tyler Pitlick, defenseman Erik Gustafsson, and goalie Jonathan Quick.
Traded Players – Five Players (22.7%)
Although Shesterkin is about to begin his fifth season with the Rangers, a player who outranks him on the seniority chart is 40-goal scorer Mika Zibanejad, who came to New York in a trade from the Ottawa Senators in July 2016 for Derick Brassard. Meanwhile, Ryan Lindgren eventually made his NHL debut on Broadway after coming to town in the Rick Nash trade that sent the former star to the Boston Bruins in February 2018.
Surprisingly, the Rangers acquired one of the league’s best defensemen, Adam Fox, for two draft picks in an April 2019 trade with the Carolina Hurricanes while swinging a deal with the Winnipeg Jets for their current captain, Jacob Trouba, in June 2019. After winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021, the team traded him to New York for a seventh-round draft pick in July 2021.
Rangers roster and the cap
According to CapFriendly.com, the Rangers have a payroll of $82,824,916, with an estimated $675,084 in cap space available. In 2023-24, New York will pay $32.64 million (39.4% salary cap) to players acquired via trade, slightly higher than the drafted players in the lineup, who earn $27.46 million (33.1%). Surprisingly, the free agents in the lineup make the least money as a group at $22.10 million (26.6%).
As expected, Panarin has the team’s largest salary, $11.64 million, with Pitlick making almost league minimum at $787,500 this year. Meanwhile, Zibanejad has the team’s longest deal, with seven years remaining on his agreement. At the same time, eight players are set to become free agents in the summer of 2024, which include restricted free agents Kakko, Lindgren, and Schneider.
Interestingly, the unrestricted free agents will be Wheeler, Bonino, Pitlick, Gustafsson, and Quick. Even though the Rangers hired a new coach, Peter Laviolette, over the summer, without a parade down the Canyon of Heroes next spring, this could be the last time we see this particular lineup together.