New York Rangers offseason predictions; next coach, expansion, free agency and trades

By Forever Blueshirts
free agent targets
Jan 16, 2020; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) checks New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) into the boards during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is underway for the New York Rangers and there’s a lot on Chris Drury’s plate. I’ve been writing about all the possibilities since the season ended, it’s time to start giving some predictions. From who the next coach will be, to a blockbuster trade, here are my best educated guesses.

The Next New York Rangers coach…

The biggest question currently surrounding the New York Rangers focuses on their search for a new coach. What is taking so long and why have we only heard of two names being interviewed? It can’t be possible that Chris Drury only talked with Rick Tocchet and Gerard Gallant.

GERARD GALLANT
Nov 2, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant argues a call during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre LeBrun reported that Gallant’s interview went well and Darren Dreger said he’d be “gobsmacked if Gallant didn’t end up in New York” – so what’s the delay? Rod Brind’Amour apparently is holding up the works here. There’s a chance, albeit a small one that he could leave the Hurricanes for the Rangers.

Of course, I believe chasing Brind’Amour is a red herring and he’s using his leverage as a free agent to get the Canes to increase their offer and get his assistants taken care of as well.

Prediction: Gerard Gallant will be the next Rangers coach

And the Seattle Kraken select from the Rangers…

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.

Prediction: Brett Howden will be selected by the Kraken

And with the 15th selection in the Draft the Rangers…

Forever Blueshirts reported that the New York Rangers first round pick is indeed in play this offseason. On July 23rd -24th the NHL Draft will take place and Chris Drury currently holds the 15th selection after the lottery drawing.

There’s been speculation that the Rangers, who have an overload of young players and prospects would package the 15th overall pick. A knowledgeable source confirmed that all options are on the table this summer and that includes moving the first round selection.

I truly believe that the Rangers will trade their first round pick to improve the lineup this season with NHL ready talent.

Prediction: They will trade the pick, but if not they will take the best center available

New York Rangers trade for…

The worst kept secret in the NHL is the Rangers desire to acquire another top center. This isn’t a knock on Ryan Strome who has been excellent since his acquisition, and even better with Artemi Panarin on his flank. As good as he’s been, the Blueshirts could also move him to the third line and make center one of their strongest positions. That is if they can execute the right deal for a pivot.

new york rangers predictions
Feb 23, 2019; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) looks to block a shot by Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

From what I can gather, Aleksander Barkov is unlikely to be moved in this offseason. That leaves Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jack Eichel as the two known centers available for a trade. Sean Monahan is also rumored to be available.

The Rangers are going to play this one tight, and they likely will be using the aforementioned first round pick in this deal. If Monahan is on the market, he will automatically move ahead of Kuznetsov. In the end, it will be the one player New York has been linked to the most in trade rumors.

Prediction: Jack Eichel will be on Broadway

Rangers sign in free agency…

Chris Drury has a check list this summer, and one of the top items reshaping the bottom six. I’ve mentioned several names which includes Blake Coleman, Jordan Martinook, and Casey Cizikas.

Both Coleman and Cizikas are still playing, but Martinook is now heading home. When asked about his future he admitted he could be elsewhere, but he made it clear where he wants to be. “At the end of the day, it’s obviously a business,” Martinook said. “I want to stay here, but I have a family. I just had a baby girl, so I have to look out for myself and my family. I want to be a Hurricane, so hopefully we can make that happen.”

However, I believe Drury already has his free agent signing list prioritized and a center who can win face-off is it. Two names pop up for me in the Islanders Casey Cizikas and Detroit’s Luke Glendening. One of these players will be taking key draws next season.

Prediction: Casey Cizikas signs with the Blueshirts on July 28th

NHL Rumors

Latest on the Rod Brind’Amour situation here.