New York Rangers very early lineup projections for 2022-23 season
As we continue to crawl through the slowest part of the New York Rangers offseason awaiting for training camp to open, news has been limited.
It was nice to get some excitement with the signing of Kaapo Kakko to a 2-year bridge deal with an AAV of $2.1 million. Per CapFriendly, the Rangers have $1.8 million in cap space.
However, once you play with the lineup using CapFriendly’s ArmChair GM tool you’re left with only $933,531 for a 22 man roster.
New York Rangers lineup: Forwards
While it is early to project the team’s lineup, based on last year’s roster and the salary cap only a few spots are in doubt. Assuming the Rangers are ready to give Alexis Lafreniere a top role, he or Chris Kreider could make the switch to right wing on the top line.
“I want to play in the top six eventually, that’s my goal,” Lafrenière said on breakup day. “I want to watch them and learn from them but hopefully next year I can play in the top six.”
The 20 year-old acknowledged that with both Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin occupying the top two left wing slots it won’t be easy to get on the top two lines. His best chance is to move to the right wing, which is something he’s been open to doing.
On the fourth line, Ryan Carpenter, whom the Rangers had interest in last season will likely earn the fourth line center position now that Kevin Rooney is gone.
Dryden Hunt will act as the 13th forward.
New York Rangers lineup: Defense
On defense, I think this one is fairly obvious with Zac Jones earning the first crack at being the third-pair left defenseman with Braden Schneider. The Rangers also opted to keep Libor Hajek around and he’s likely going to be the 7th defenseman.
Jones, 21, is in the final year of his entry-level deal that comes with a low cap hit of $925,000. He’s shown he has the ability to play in the NHL using his high hockey IQ to compensate for his size at 5-11, 185lbs.
“We know what Jonesy is,” Gerard Gallant said. “He moves the puck– he skates. He’s not a big guy but he defends pretty hard.”
In his first full season as a pro with the Hartford Wolf Pack, he was their leading scoring defenseman with 35 points in 52 games. This past season, he also played in 12 games with the Rangers earning two assists.
New York Rangers lineup: Goalies
In goal, Igor Shesterkin will look to repeat his Vezina winning performance with new veteran backup Jaroslav Halak. The Rangers also signed Louis Domingue, who will start with the Wolf Pack and be the first call up if there’s an injury or should Halak struggle.
“Competition with any goalkeeper should spur you on, because without it there is no professional growth,” Shesterkin said in a Russian interview. “Now our team has signed Jaroslav Halak. I am sure that the competition will also be serious, plus you can learn something from him, as he is a very experienced goalkeeper. And I wish Alexander Georgiev only good luck.”
Halak, 37, posted a 4-7-2 record with a .903 SV% and a 2.94 GAA in a limited role with the Canucks last season. For his career, Halak has appeared in 556 games and boasts a record of 285-180-64 with 52 shutouts. The veteran goalie is also a battler with a career .916 SV% and a 2.49 GAA.
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