Rangers moving on from defense prospects to make room for Nils Lundkvist and others

In the last few days the Rangers have terminated the contract of Sean Day and did not sign Nico Gross allowing him to go back into the draft. Both prospects were drafted in 2016 and 2018 respectively. In recent years the Rangers have added Jacob Trouba, Tony DeAngelo, Adam Fox, and Ryan Lindgren through trades. The crowd on the Rangers blue-line is growing.

Excellent Drafting

While the Rangers have improved their defense via trades they’ve drafted some gems as well. Just in the last few years K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, Matthew Robertson, and Zac Jones have jumped to the top of the Blueshirts prospects pool. According to a team source, they believe all will play for the Rangers. That will lead to some interesting conversations/trades that will need to happen to make sure the Rangers put forth the best defense possible in the next few years.

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As for Sean Day, the Rangers first selection in the 3rd round 81st overall of the 2016 draft, he just didn’t fit. They took a chance on the big mobile rearguard but he struggled with the Wolf Pack and was even demoted to the ECHL. When it comes to Nico Gross selected in the 4th round in 2018 he just never separated himself. He also plays the left side where K’Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgren, and Zac Jones have overtaken him depth wise. When you include Nils Lundkvist eventually forcing either Tony DeAngelo or Adam Fox to switch from right to left, you can see the logic in the decision.

Right now Lundkvist has no contract with any team. It’s a bit up in the air. We have a fairly close contact with both Nisse and his agent, says Luleå’s assistant general manager Ulf Engman. Luleå would like to see Nils Lundkvist continue with a third season in SHL to develop in peace and quiet and be ready for the NHL when it is time.


Championship Blue-line

The bottom line is that Sean Day and Nico Gross no longer fit in the Rangers plans. We wish them well, but the real story will be what a future championship blue-line in NY will look like. We can envision Miller taking Staal’s spot in the lineup and imagine DeAngelo playing his off side to accommodate Lundkvist. But how do you fit Matthew Robertson and Zac Jones if they continue on their projected paths? The Rangers have a lot of pieces to build a championship defense, however that’s a story for another day.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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