Keep or Dump: These 3 Rangers may have played their way off the team
The Rangers roster next season is going to be loaded with new young talent like Vitali Kravtsov, Libor Hajek and possibly, Kaapo Kakko. Not to mention that Jeff Gorton has the desire and cap space to add a UFA like Artemi Panarin as well.
So who should the Rangers move to make room? Here are my top 3 candidates.
Namestnikov was the NHL roster player Tampa gave up in the McDonagh/Miller blockbuster. It is now evident that the real focus was the picks along with Brett Howden and Libor Hajek.
Thus far in 97 games with the Rangers, Namestnikov has only mustered 13 goals and 35 points. The 26 year old has one year left at $4M before becoming a UFA in 2020. The Rangers should move him at all costs this summer at the draft. Just don’t expect much and he may just be a throw in for a larger deal.
I am a fan of Vesey’s game. The problem is, Brendan Lemieux plays a similar and yet more effective style. The 25 year old will be a UFA next summer as well, so trading him at the draft makes sense.
The difference between he and Namestnikov are not that stark. Vesey is a year younger, makes much less at $2.275M and scores a bit more. In his 240 game career he has 90 points, setting a career high with 35 points last year, mostly on the 3rd or 4th line.
Gorton could keep Vesey for the 4th line next season as insurance, but moving him at the draft if the right opportunity presents itself is possible.
The Rangers need to improve and make room on defense. It needs to start with Smith who is the easy choice. Gorton can attempt to eat some of his $4.35M salary and trade him at the draft, or just bite the bullet and buy him out.
Many others will scream buy out Marc Staal, but the cap penalty is less if you choose Smith.
Now you tell me, should we keep or dump them? Sound off in the comments section.