New York Rangers key dates for the offseason: Expansion draft, Entry draft, and Free Agency

By Anthony Scultore
Apr 13, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) is congratulated by center Brett Howden (21) after the game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers offseason is going to be extremely busy. In an effort to help fans keep on top of it all, here are a list of key dates to mark on your calendars.

New York Rangers offseason: Seattle Expansion Draft

  • 7/17 – Deadline to submit protected list (5 p.m. ET)
  • 7/21 – Expansion Draft

The Blueshirts will need to submit their list of protected players to the league by 5 p.m. ET on July 17. This is when we will definitively know whom the Rangers will be protecting and exposing. The Seattle Expansion Draft will take place on July 21.

Projected Protected Forwards:

  • Pavel Buchnevich
  • Ryan Strome
  • Filip Chytil
  • Colin Blackwell
  • Mika Zibanejad (NMC)
  • Artemi Panarin (NMC)
  • Chris Kreider (NMC)

Projected Protected Defensemen and Goalie:

  • Jacob Trouba (NMC)
  • Ryan Lindgren
  • Libor Hajek
  • Alexandar Georgiev

Key Exemption list: Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and Igor Shesterkin.

Key Projected Exposed list: Tony DeAngelo, Brett Howden, Julian Gauthier, Kevin Rooney, and Keith Kinkaid.

NHL Draft Lottery and Entry Draft

New York Rangers offseason
The lottery ball of destiny for the Rangers (NHLI/TSN)
  • 6/2 – NHL Draft Lottery
  • 7/23 to 7/24 – NHL Entry Draft

The NHL Draft Lottery will take place on June 2. The Rangers will have a .5% chance of winning the first overall pick and a 1.1% chance of getting second overall. If they were to win it, the absolute mayhem that will follow should be epic.

As far as top draft picks go, Owen Power (D), Matt Beniers (C), and William Eklund (LW) are considered top three. The Rangers are likely to stay put at 16 and if that’s the case they need to draft whatever center is available to them, or attempt to trade up a few spots to get him.

Here’s the two center targets they need to draft:

  • Aatu Raty (6’2″, 185 lbs)
  • Fyodor Svechkov (6′, 187 lbs)

Teams usually like to have a head coach in place before the NHL Entry Draft. I will have more on this coming up soon.

NHL Free Agency

New York Rangers offseason
Dec 28, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil (72) battles to stop Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman (11) from playing the puck in the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
  • 7/28 – Free Agency officially opens
  • TBD – Salary Arbitration

While there is no firm date on when qualifying offers have to be in or when players can file for arbitration, it is usually after the draft. This summer the Rangers have six RFAs to sign, but only two with arbitration rights.

  • Pavel Buchnevich (Arb Rights)
  • Igor Shesterkin (Arb Rights)
  • Filip Chytil
  • Brett Howden
  • Julien Gauthier
  • Libor Hajek

I fully expect for expansion draft purposes all will receive their qualifying offers as soon as possible.

The opening bell for Free Agent Frenzy begins on July 28. One key UFA they are rumored to be targeting is Toronto’s Zach Hyman. I also expect the Rangers to be in the market for bottom six players like Casey Cizikas, and Jordan Martinook. On defense, look at them trying to sign for Alec Martinez.

Rangers UFA’s are Phil Di Giuseppe, Brendan Smith, and Jack Johnson.

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