New York Rangers offseason storylines; Roster shaping; and is the Jack Eichel trade dead?

jack eichel rangers
Jan 28, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) is congratulated by teammates for scoring a goal against the New York Rangers in the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have had an active off season as this week they’ve made three important moves.

First they signed Igor Shesterkin to a 4 year-deal. Chris Drury also got first round pick Brennan Othmann to ink his ELC, and plucked Ryan Martin from the Detroit Red Wings to take over as Assistant GM and Wolf Pack GM.

Of course, the biggest question remains; “will the Rangers make a big trade?”

Is the Jack Eichel trade to the Rangers dead?

Things are getting worse between the Sabres and Jack Eichel. The disconnect between the two sides seems irreparable. Eichel’s arguments against the organization were recently reinforced by former teammate Robin Lehner, who stated the Sabres medical staff mishandled his injury.

Recently, there’s been some mixed buzz about a Rangers and Jack Eichel deal with Steve Valiquette implying something was imminent on Twitter. That has not come to pass, but what it did bring out was a report from Larry Brooks that states, the Blueshirts were not seriously interested in bringing in the injured 24 year-old center.

rangers offseason
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The latest on Jack Eichel consists of no more than the ongoing blizzard of contradictory tales and innuendo posted on social media, some of which has come from the account of an MSG-Network analyst who is friendly with Drury. The Post reported via Twitter on Friday that the GM last week had been telling agents that he had never expressed serious interest in trading for Buffalo’s disaffected center and could not understand why the Rangers have been consistently linked to Eichel.

NY Post

This is odd because for over a year Bob McKenzie, Elliotte Friedman, Darren Dreger, and Pierre LeBrun linked the Rangers to Jack Eichel. According to them, the Rangers were not only interested but placed calls and even made an offer.

Is this just gamesmanship by Drury?

Even so, the Sabres seem to be playing hardball not only with any team asking about Eichel, but with him and his agents. There’s some growing rumblings that the Sabres may very well drag this out heading into training camp and beyond.

If the Rangers are interested in may behoove them to move on.

New York Rangers offseason

The biggest storyline starting to take shape is how will Gerard Gallant set his lines for the upcoming season. Let’s first rundown key moves made so far.

NY Rangers offseason transactions:

  • 7/17 Acquire the rights to Barclay Goodrow from the Lightning
  • 7/17 Trade Brett Howden to the Golden Knights for Nick DeSimone and a 4th rd pick
  • 7/21 lose Colin Blackwell with the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft
  • 7/22 Sign Barclay Goodrow for 6 years and $21.85M
  • 7/23 Trade Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues for Sammy Blais and 2nd rd pick
  • 7/28 Patrik Nemeth signs for 3 years and $7.5M
  • 7/28 Jarred Tinordi signsfor 2 years and $1.8M
  • 7/28 Greg McKegg signs for 1 year and $750K
  • 7/28 Ink Dryden Hunt for 2 years and $1.525M
  • 7/29 Sign Filip Chytil for 2 years and $4.6M
  • 7/29 Acquire Ryan Reaves from the Golden Knights for a 3rd rd pick
  • 7/31 Extend Ryan Reaves for 1 year and $1.75M in 2022-23
  • 8/09 NYR give Igor Shesterkin 4 year extension worth $22.66M
  • 8/12 First round pick Brennan Othmann signs his ELC
  • 8/13 Rangers hire Ryan Martin as Assistant GM and Hartford GM

So far, all of Chris Drury’s moves have been to beef up the bottom six and balance the lineup.

Barclay Goodrow is expected to play a prominent role on the third line. Meanwhile, Ryan Reaves fully changes the dynamic of the team bringing a level of toughness not seen in years. Sammy Blais is expected to also be a key player on a revamped 4th line.

The signing of Patrik Nemeth is to stabilize the Rangers third pair defense. He is expected to be paired with top prospect Nils Lundkvist, and will help mentor him.

Shesterkin’s deal, while slightly high for a goalie with less than a full season under his belt is going to be worth it in the long run. The hiring of Ryan Martin is a good one as he fits well into what Chris Drury is trying to do with revamping the team’s philosophy and draft strategy to more North American players.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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