Rangers need to make decision on defenseman John Gilmour

The most valuable player in Hartford last season has his contract up. This comes at time when the Rangers organization is crowded at the blue line and has traded and signed for defenseman Adam Fox. Where will the two time AHL All-Star go? Will he stay within the organization, or go elsewhere and sign as a free agent. The Rangers have sent qualifying offers to Cristoval Nieves and Steven Fogarty earlier in the season. Yet, John Gilmour or Vinni Lettieri was not offered any extension.

Addressing the cost for John Gilmour, he has a small percentage of the cap space in the organization. In the original contract for two seasons, the he had a cap hit of $742,500. His salary in the AHL was $70,000. Last season, he had a small increase with a bump of $1,485,000 with making $140,000 in the AHL (Two-way deal). Despite the 50% increase, his cap hit does not impact the Rangers.

On ice performance for the defenseman is terrific despite being apart of a lackluster Wolf Pack roster. John Gilmour led the team in points with 54 (20 goals, 34 assists). In addition, he led the team with assists. In the prior year, his total was 26 points (6 goals, 20 assists) followed by a rookie year performance of 25 points (6 goals, 19 assists). To me, that is strong growth on the offensive front of the blue line. He is proven to be able to make noise in Hartford.

John Gilmour fell short of leading the entire league on total points as a defenseman by one point. Aaron Ness of the Hershey Bears won that title in the last week of the regular season.

The defenseman also had time in New York. The 2017-18 season featured 28 games with the big club then last season, five. As he was on the cusp of making it to New York, he had to compete against the young guns in training camp (Anthony DeAngelo, Neal Pionk, etc.). If he returns, he will face the same challenges. This will not be a cakewalk for anyone wanting a spot in New York on defense. However on the plus with John Gilmour, he has taste the NHL which is great. That can help him grow better as a player in Hartford and help guide the younger guys.

I feel that the defenseman has made real strides in Hartford. His performance has doubled, and defensively he can help out. The question is if the Rangers are willing to re-sign him. Is the writing on the wall with other defenseman getting called up such as Libor Hajek?

In past seasons, when players often get passed up for getting called up to the big club, that is a red flag. Adam Tambellini on his last year of the entry level contract had that happen to him. John Gilmour’s case is similar, but also different as he performed and exceeded expectations.

If I had the final say, I would elect to re-sign the defenseman for two season to help bolster the Wolf Pack’s young blue line. He has proven himself within the Wolf Pack. Let him take on additional leadership roles as the group desperately needs mentoring.

My feeling? I will go out on a limb and say he will not be re-signed because of what has happened last season. Two players from Hartford were qualified already. The Pack needs to he better built. Why not get new guys? Prove me wrong on my theory, Rangers.

We shall see what happens when free agency is here.

Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner

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