Are the Rangers heading into next season with the same group?

Vigneault (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Vigneault (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

When it comes to off-season coverage of the Blueshirts, there is nobody I enjoy reading more than Larry Brooks. In his latest column, published this evening he writes:

From what we’ve gleaned, the Blueshirts, a) are extremely reluctant to trade Derek Stepan; b) won’t trade Ryan McDonagh; c) cannot get anything even remotely resembling equal value for Rick Nash; d) have not been shopping Chris Kreider.

Breaking down this insight from Brooks’ some things stand out:

  • Once Steven Stamkos opted to stay in TB, there was no reason to trade Derek Stepan
  • Why would they trade their best defenseman and Captain in Ryan McDonagh?
  • With regards to Rick Nash, will his value improve now that most of the big name UFA’s are signed?
  • This best news relates to Chris Kreider, whom it looks like the Rangers would like to lock up longterm.

Brooks goes on to question if the Rangers do indeed come back with the same group, will Alain Vigneault make the necessary changes to his system to fit his personnel? For more on that, please read his entire article here.

I agree that if the Rangers are going into the season with in essence the same group aside from Pavel Buchnevich who replaces, Viktor Stalberg and Michael Grabner, whom takes the roster spot of Dominic Moore…then AV needs to make changes.

Aside from a few tweaks to his system, AV really needs to reduce the minutes and roles of certain players like Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. It certainly won’t be easy since the Rangers did not address finding McDonagh a partner this offseason.

Should Rick Nash actually yield a proper return, and for me that would need to be a defenseman like Cam Fowler, that could assume that top pairing role, then go for it. Maybe you can make another move to bring in a scoring winger from free agency. Radim Vrbata is still out there, but getting him on the cheap will be tough.

The Rangers and Jeff Gorton need to keep all avenues open. His top priority needs to be locking up Kreider, Miller, Hayes and McIlrath to good deals. If that’s all he does, I can live with it. However, once that is done he should still look to see if the right deal is out there.

WARNING: Making a trade for making a trade’s sake is a bad move!

It’s a long way until next trade deadline and better opportunities could come to a GM who waits.