Rangers rumors and storylines to follow in 2020
The calendar year has turned and many of us have already made the mistake of writing 2019. We look ahead to the biggest rumors and storylines for the Rangers in 2020. This is a comprehensive list of what to look for this year.
Panarin is rolling
It’s quickly becoming obvious that Artemiy Panarin is the best UFA signing this past decade. What might actually be happening is he could be the Rangers best UFA signing in history.
Kravtsov in NY
At some point after the deadline, the NYR will have Vitali Kravtsov on Broadway. The kid has come back to Hartford with a new attitude and a hard work ethic that has resulted in praise from his coach, Kris Knoblauch. In hindsight, what happened in the KHL was a valuable lesson for Kravtsov and may have been the best thing that could’ve happened for both sides.
We noted recently that the best way to trade Lias Andersson would be in a package deal. In that article we mentioned that he likely returned to Sweden which was just confirmed by Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts blog. Also suggested was the Rangers possibly loaning Andersson to get some playing time.
Lias Andersson has gone back to Sweden. It remains to be seen if the Rangers loan him to a local team, as Edmonton’s done with Jesse Puljujarvi. (Can’t hurt to have him playing.) The Oilers have taken a tough stance with their winger, as has Dallas with Julius Honka. Like Andersson, they are young former first-rounders, and, in trade talks, are being treated as such. New York is following that path.31 Thoughts
From what I can gather, the Rangers feel zero pressure to move him now. They are likely to work out a deal where he is loaned to a team in Sweden and trade him in a package deal at the deadline.
Like Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello last deadline and Rick Nash the prior, Chris Kreider is the next UFA to be moved at the deadline. And regardless of what Larry Brooks recently wrote, the Rangers are still very likely to deal him.
They do not have to trade Kreider. They do not have to trade Strome or DeAngelo. They do not have to break up the Kreider-Zibanejad combination on one line and the Strome-Panarin combination on another unit that have created power-matchup dilemmas for opposing coaches. They do not have to move DeAngelo as he grows into one of the most proficient right-side, blue-line, offensive forces in the NHL.NYPOST
While I agree wholeheartedly about Strome and DeAngelo, it makes no sense to keep Kreider. Brooks citing that young players go to him is not reason enough either. Should he get traded players like Zibanejad, Panarin, and Trouba will assume the leadership mantel without issue.
And there’s nothing wrong with Kreider the player, but if you have to sign him to 7 years at 7 million, that contract will be an albatross in just a few years when he’s in his 30’s and you need to pay Kakko, Zibanejad, Fox, and Buchnevich to just name a few.
The person all these decisions ultimately rests on is GM Jeff Gorton. Don’t get me wrong, President John Davidson will have input on the plan, but the execution will be all Gorton. The key to a successful trade deadline will be patience and playing it close to the vest. Both are things Gorton is excellent at.
Lots and lots of interest in Chris Kreider, no decision yet from the Rangers. “Lots of time,” one source said. Again, look at their history. Marc Staal’s last contract was signed on Jan. 18, 2015. In 2014, they signed Dan Girardi on Feb. 28. They took Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello down to the wire last year. There’s a lot of interest — believed to include contenders who might be happy to wait for cap reasons (Boston, St. Louis) and others who aren’t worried about that (Colorado). There’s plenty of speculation about Montreal, as the Canadiens could use some beef, but Kreider’s partial no-trade affects that.31 Thoughts
Both Brooks and Friedman have talked about the possibility the Rangers may not trade Kreider. Let me offer this, what if the Rangers have already determined that the best course is to trade him and making other GMs think they want to keep him. Doesn’t that help raise the price? Isn’t that how playing it patient and close to the vest is done? I think so.
Let me finish with Alex Georgiev and the Rangers goaltending situation. Prior to Georgiev having to pass through waivers to be sent down, many believed something would happen. Obviously he wasn’t sent down or traded so what to make of it. I mean there was a lot of trade rumor buzz around Georgiev and it basically just went cold silent.
Here’s a wild theory that’s should cause a stir, what if the Rangers let Lundqvist control his fate? Say the Rangers look likely to miss the playoffs again near the deadline, is there a chance Henrik could change his mind for one last chance at a Cup? Although it is a highly unlikely a request, it is a smart move by Gorton to hold onto Georgiev until the deadline just in case.
Here’s one thing I’m pretty sure of, Igor Shesterkin will play for the Rangers this season. It will come when one of the two current goalies is traded and it’s likely to be Georgiev.