New York Rangers storylines to follow this offseason

The New York Rangers are expected to be very busy this offseason. In effort to keep you aware, here are the top storylines to follow until next season’s opening puck drop.

Who will coach the Rangers in 2021-22

The Blueshirts have opted to relieve David Quinn of his head coaching duties. “I would like to thank David Quinn, David Oliver, Jacques Martin, and Greg Brown for all of their efforts and dedication to the Rangers,” Chris Drury said via a press release. “I wish each of them the best in their future endeavors. We will begin our search for a new head coach immediately.”

As soon as the firings of both John Davidson and Jeff Gorton took place it was expected that Quinn would be the next to fall. Already at that time two names were immediately brought to my attention and they were John Tortorella and Gerard Gallant. Since then, names like Bruce Boudreau, Patrick Roy, and Claude Julien followed. Another name that came up was Mike Babcock, but that sounded like it was coming more from his camp as having interest in the job.

Currently, only Gerard Gallant has interviewed for the job and it was said to go well. At least 4-5 more candidates are expected to be interviewed.

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.

However, the Kraken recently signed a former Carolina Hurricanes draft pick in Luke Henman. If that’s the route they take, Julien Gauthier would seem like the likely candidate to go.

Will the Rangers trade for Jack Eichel or another top center

jack eichel rangers
Feb 22, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) and New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) battle for position during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Jack Eichel trade watch is officially on in New York. On the heels of his public comments about being upset (again) with the Sabres, this time over his injury, he may be playing elsewhere. GM Kevyn Adams stated that Eichel has not requested a trade. Unfortunately for Adams, no one appears to be buying that.

Although it wasn’t a formal request, how are we all supposed to take him saying, “I want to be healthy to play next season, WHEREVER that might be”? The Rangers remain the front runners to land Eichel with the L.A. Kings close behind.

Of course, Eichel may not be the only available center this summer. Two other names are on the Rangers short list if they are made available. One is Aleksander Barkov, the other is Evgeny Kuznetsov. For me, I’d steer clear of the latter at this point. Another veteran possibility will be Evgeni Malkin but the cost could be Vitali Kravtsov and more.

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.

How will the Rangers revamp the bottom six

new york rangers rumors
Feb 19, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) takes a face off against Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jordan Martinook (48) at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

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.