The New York Rangers offseason has checked off one big item from their to do list. Gerard Gallant was the top storyline to watch for and Chris Drury took care of that. The NHL Draft Lottery also gave them the 15th pick.
Let’s check out the latest on what fans should be keeping an eye on this summer.
Will the Rangers trade for Jack Eichel or another top center
When it comes to Jack Eichel, the buzz surrounding him these last few days has never been louder. The trade talk has picked up around the 24 year-old center so much that it’s believed a trade could come within days or weeks.
Over the last few days, three of the top insiders have provided updates on Jack Eichel. TSN’s Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, along with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman are all saying talks have intensified. They are almost singing the same tune as well, that the Sabres would rather trade him out West. The one team no longer being mentioned in trade talks for the injured center are the Rangers.
So are they Rangers completely out? It’s hard to say but I’ve been met with radio silence for days on the topic. That could mean a number of things, including Drury working to make a deal for the injured center. Or it could mean that the information I received on May 21st is all that’s left to say on the topic.
Could the Rangers have told the Sabres, ‘here’s our offer, if you can get better than more power to you’ – sure. Is there a chance they said, come back to us before you do anything? Yes, that’s possible too. Or what’s most likely is that they’ve moved on and are completely out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes.
The real question is are they still in the market for another top center?
Who will the Rangers lose in the Seattle Expansion
The Seattle Kraken will start to build their hockey team on July 21st. That is the date set for the Expansion Draft. We know that Blueshirts will be exposing Tony DeAngelo for certain. It is unlikely the Kraken go that route, so we look at some other possibilities in the early going.
I believe it will come down to Brett Howden and Julien Gauthier. Each suffered an injury to end their seasons, so I don’t think that will factor in the selection. My thought is that Howden would be their choice. He’s a young and responsible defensive center, and pivots are always at a premium. Remember, the Golden Knights selected Oscar Lindberg back in 2017.
New York Rangers assistant coaches search
When you look at Gallant’s recent coaching experience running Team Canada he worked with Mike Kelly and Andre Tourigny. Of the two, Kelly is the most likely since he and Gallant have worked together numerous times.
Kelly was Gallant’s assistant in Florida and Vegas at the NHL. However, the two also worked in QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs. Kelly was an assistant to Gallant from 2010 to 2012 while there. Kelly has also worked as GM and head coach in various other stops, including winning Gold with Team Canada in 2003 at IIHF World U18.
Another name to keep an eye on is Ryan McGill whom Gallant worked with in Vegas as well. He played for the Blackhawks before getting into the coaching ranks in the OHL and WHL. McGill also has ties to the Blueshirts as the Wolf Pack’s head coach from 2003-2005.
Finally, according to a report in The Athletic, Dan Girardi is being considered to be part of the new coaching staff. This past season, the 37 year-old joined the Sabres as an assistant and helped interim head coach Don Granato turn things around. “I’ve kind of been through everything,” Girardi said on WGR550. “The way I played, how I carried myself in the [locker] room, a teammate first, didn’t worry about all my individual stuff, really thought about the team game; all those things, when you’re a good teammate, word gets around and you’re able to talk to guys.”
Who will the Rangers add to the blue-line
The Blueshirts are going to be adding a veteran to the blue-line, most likely through free agency. Depending on how things shake out on the Eichel front, I doubt they would be in the market for David Savard. The growing consensus is a defenseman like Alec Martinez would fit the bill for next season.
There is always the option to re-sign Brendan Smith as well. Here’s another name, the return of Marc Staal for one-year at under $1 million.
How will the Rangers revamp the bottom six
This is probably one of the biggest reasons from a lineup standpoint why the old regime was changed. The Rangers need to change their bottom six to be able to battle in the tough Eastern Conference. I’ve already dropped some potential UFA’s like Casey Cizikas, Jordan Martinook, and Riley Sheehan here.
Chris Drury could also look to the trade market and see if adding a Ryan Reaves or Milan Lucic makes sense. In particular Lucic would interest me, but only if Calgary ate 50% of his salary and the cost was a mid round pick.
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