New York Rangers will miss Ryan Reaves but needed the cap space

The New York Rangers will miss Ryan Reaves, even if he was scratched in seven of the team’s previous eight games. On Wednesday, he was traded for a fifth round pick in 2025 after requesting a trade this week.

“It’s always tough when you lose a guy you’ve had for three years,” Gallant said. “He was outstanding. He’s a good person and I got close to him. I coached him for two and a half years in Vegas and a year and a half here. He did the organization great and the players loved him. It’s a tough part of our game and hopefully he goes to Minnesota and plays real well there.”

Reavo, as he’s affectionately known had a significant impact on the Blueshirts in his short time here. It was Reaves who coined the phrase “How ‘Bout Them Rangers” last season, when experts kept saying that the team’s success was predicated solely on Igor Shesterkin and a really good power play.

The Rangers would eventually finish second in the Metro and fall to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning in six games of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Rangers will miss Ryan Reaves

ryan reaves
Nov 12, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Tanner Jeannot (84) and New York Rangers right wing Ryan Reaves (75) fight during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 35 year-old veteran is a fourth-line heavy hitting energy guy that can fight. Although many will say he wasn’t a deterrent, I believe he did at least keep the opposition on their toes and thinking twice before taking any liberties on players like Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad.

But don’t take my word for it.

“Having [Reaves] on the bench has everyone puff their chest out a little more,” Adam Fox said. “We feel a little safer. He keeps other team’s guys in check as well. They know they can’t take liberties because they’ll have to answer to him. Having a guy like him allows everyone else to play a little bigger for sure.”

Aside from instilling a different level of confidence when he was in the lineup, Reaves is a locker room leader.

His “Shesty, Release Us” war cry before games not only energized his teammates but fans just before the puck was dropped.

Reaves, only dressed in 12 games this season for the Rangers and didn’t register a single point. He lost his spot in the lineup to the younger and much faster Julien Gauthier. In 81 regular season games with the Rangers since being traded from the Vegas Golden Knights in the summer of 2021, he registered 5 goals and 13 points, along with 55 penalty minutes.

The Rangers players certainly gravitated to Reavo because of his strong character. They’ll move on without him and hopefully learned a little something during his time here.

Reaves wanted to go to Minnesota

According to Mollie Walker of the NY Post, Reaves wanted to reunite with GM Bill Guerin whom he came to know in their time together in Pittsburgh.

“It’s not for the fighting. He’s a biiiiigggg personality. He’s got a lot of energy. He’s got swagger. We’ve been missing that,” Guerin told The Athletic’s Michael Russo. “The energy he brings is really good. And size. He’s gonna help us get our identity back.”

Reaves landed in Minnesota late yesterday and sent a shoutout to his new fans.

“What’s up Wild fans, it’s your boy Reavo,” he said from the Wild locker room. “Touched down in Minny. Happy Thanksgiving everybody and I can’t wait to get it going. Let’s go baby.”

In 767 career NHL games for the St. Louis Blues (2010-11 to 2016-17), Pittsburgh Penguins (2017-18), Vegas (2017-18 to 2020-21) and Rangers, Reaves has 54 goals, 60 assists and 992 penalty minutes.

Rangers needed to trade Reaves

The Rangers will definitely miss Ryan Reaves but what they gain in cap space by shedding his $1.75 million in salary is huge.

“After trading Reaves and saving (his) $1.34M Cap Hit for remainder of year, the New York Rangers have $1.5M Projected Cap Space with 22 players on active Roster,” tweeted PuckPedia. “That space can fit (a) $1.98M Annual Cap Hit today or $6.68M Annual Cap Hit at deadline.”

What that means is the Blueshirts are in the mix for Patrick Kane when the Chicago Blackhawks trade him close to the Trade Deadline on March 3.

Of course, the Hawks will need to retain 50% of his $10.5 million cap hit to make it work, but that was a given consideration for every contender that would try and deal for him.

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