New York Rangers rumors and rumblings this offseason

As we continue the expected slow down of hockey news this offseason, here’s some of the latest rumors and rumblings for the New York Rangers.

Ryan Strome’s pending arbitration hearing

Over a week ago, I was told the Rangers and Ryan Strome made significant progress on a new deal per a source familiar with the situation. The two sides are negotiating last I heard, but each side is very firm in their stance.

So will this actually head to an arbitrator? I still doubt it, but we are only 4 days aways from the November 5th date. The Rangers are still in the driver’s seat here. That’s because they can walk away from any award higher than $4.5 million leaving Strome without a team in a tight NHL economy.

If they walk away from Strome what will they do?

new york rangers rumors
Strome scores (AP/Jay LaPrete)

There are other centers available if the Rangers walk away from Strome. Let’s also understand that this season only, there is something called a walk back. That’s where Strome could still win his arbitration and opt to accept the Rangers offer if he doesn’t like what he finds on the open market.

If they lose Strome, they could opt to promote Chytil to second line center. That comes off as risky to me, that’s why an attempt to sign Mikael Granlund makes sense. He may also cost significantly less than a Strome award around $5 million.

Brendan Lemieux contract

Restricted free agent Brendan Lemieux was on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast weeks ago and said a new deal was close. “I am excited, I am sure we will get something done. Something done here soon,” Lemieux answered when asked about his RFA status.

new york rangers rumors
Brendan Lemieux (Photo Brett Holmes/IGetty Images)

The biggest issue blocking the Rangers from signing Brendan to a new deal is Ryan Strome. That’s because the Rangers need to know what they would be left with once this deal is done.

It is also a calendar issue. The Rangers basically have announced new deals for two of their big 4 RFA’s in the order of their arbitration dates starting with Tony DeAngelo who was set for 10/20. Lemieux’s date is set for 11/6.

Tony DeAngelo move to the left side

There has been a lot of talk about moving Tony DeAngelo to the left side for next season. The 25 year-old defenseman is no stranger to playing his offside as he did for many years in the OHL for the Sarnia Sting.

New York’s highest scoring rearguard is also on record with open to moving to the left side. The primary reason for moving DeAngelo to the left is a simple one. They want to get him into the top four without dropping Adam Fox to the third pair.

Also, beyond Ryan Lindgren the Rangers don’t have a left defenseman that can play top four minutes. Newly signed Jack Johnson was meant to stabilize the third pair on the left side, not replace Marc Staal.

A lot of this will depend on if Libor Hajek and Tarmo Reunanen can actually grab spots on defense.

Expanded rosters could greatly impact the Rangers

There has been a lot of renewed talk about the NHL expanding rosters for this upcoming season. Some of it has to do with the AHL announcing a target of February and what NHL teams would do with some of their prized prospects.

Should the NHL follow a similar roster size as they adopted in the Return to Play plan we could see an additional 5 to 7 players start the season. Here are a few the Rangers could keep around:

  • K’Andre Miller
  • Morgan Barron
  • Anthony Bitetto
  • Darren Raddyish
  • Tim Gettinger
  • Colin Blackwell
  • Adam Huska

Keep in mind that there’s been a lot of talk about performance bonuses for players like Miller and Barron. That won’t have a single impact if they are just kept on the roster for practice or do not play a certain amount of games to achieve those bonuses.

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