Offseason of change coming for disappointing New York Rangers
The New York Rangers will be officially concluding the 2022-23 campaign with their end-of-season media availability starting at 10 AM this morning.
President and General Manager Chris Drury is the most anticipated speaker of the day after a disappointing 4-0 flop in Game 7 against the New Jersey Devils. Next to that, the only other real big question is if head coach Gerard Gallant will take questions.
If he does, that likely means he will be safe behind the bench for at least one more season. Although the same may not be true for his assistant coaches Mike Kelly, Gord Murphy, and Jim Midgley.
Should Gallant not address the media, it’s very likely that he’s being replaced and a coaching search will begin immediately.
Change coming for New York Rangers
The fallout after an underwhelming first-round series loss is inevitable. Someone or at least a few players will pay the price one way or another.
Drury stacked the deck at the trade deadline with tons of offensive talent looking like a juggernaut on paper. Unfortunately, too much of one thing is usually a bad thing and Gallant did not hold back after watching his team perform a third no-show against a hungry Devils team.
“Talent doesn’t mean a thing,” Gallant said afterwards. “It’s great to have talent but you’ve got to play and work hard together– I love to have talent but you’d like to have a work ethic, forechecking, and stuff like that. We just didn’t get it done.”
Aside from the obvious question regarding the head coach, next year’s roster is bound to look different with a number of players becoming free agents. You can also expect a several young players to be part of the club including big, strong winger Will Cuylle and top prospect Brennan Othmann.
What does that mean for players like Alexis Lafreniere, who will be an RFA this summer? The first-overall pick had an abysmal postseason showing with no points. If Lafreniere is looking for a big raise coming off his ELC, it’s highly unlikely. A trade has been rumored in the past and we may see it this summer if the return is right.
Same goes for pending RFA defenseman K’Andre Miller. After an excellent regular season where he set a career-high of 43 points, Miller posted just one assist in the playoffs. On top of that, he was bad in his own zone leading to a number of misplays, coverage errors, and turnovers. Although the Rangers are unlikely to trade him, he probably played himself out of a bigger contract.
Then we get to the Rangers unrestricted free agents.
Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Motte, Niko Mikkola, and Jaro Halak are all unlikely to be back next season. There’s a possibility one of the bigger names could be retained if the Rangers opt to trade Barclay Goodrow and his $3.6M cap hit. However, isn’t Goodrow more of what the Rangers need? Tyler Motte is someone the Rangers should find a way to keep.
Finally, Artemi Panarin has drawn the ire of the Blueshirt Faithful, who are looking for a way for the team to move on from #10. First off, he has a full no move clause and isn’t going anywhere. Is it possible that Drury could get him to waive? Sure, but very few teams are going to take on the final three years of his $11.6M contract. That means the Rangers would need to eat a sizable portion for that to happen and they don’t need to spend precious cap space for a 90+ point scorer to NOT play for them. And if you’re thinking buyout, per CapFriendly the savings would only be $666,667 for three seasons. Simply not worth it.