Rangers season ends, now the real fun begins
The New York Rangers concluded their season on a high note. Last night the team made another comeback and won it in OT. Ryan Strome, the impressive mid-season acquisition, scored his 18th as a Blueshirt and won the game. Now the real fun begins.
The Draft Lottery
Entering the final two games of the season, the Rangers had a shot at jumping all the way to fourth in the draft lottery. Instead they captured 3 out of 4 points and luckily ended up 6th instead of 7th.
The Rangers can pick no worse than 7th if they do not win the lottery and a team behind them moves up. Should they remain outside the top 5 and Dylan Cozens is available, they could make a deal to move up.
After the draft, focus will shift from the future to improving immediately. The UFA field has one name in it that almost everyone feels is most likely to end up in NY, Artemi Panarin.
Two other names of interest are Jeff Skinner in Buffalo and Erik Karlsson in San Jose. If the Rangers strike out on Panarin, they could turn their attention to one of those two free agents to help for next season. With $20M in cap space, summer improvement isn’t possible, it is imminent.
Glen Sather is stepping down this summer and his replacement will impact the direction of this franchise. While speculation is rampant, the consensus feeling is that John Davidson would make the most sense.
The uncertainty at the moment with JD is if the Rangers would have to compensate Columbus if he is under contract. Reasonable compensation could be one or two mid round picks, but the Blue Jackets may want more. Especially if they are about to lose both Panarin and Matt Duchene in the free agent market.
Another name I like is Dean Lombardi but it appears he really enjoys his role in Philadelphia and isn’t seeking the high pressures of NY. Which puts the focus on maybe other executives with lesser name recognition like Kelly McCrimmon who has done a great job in Vegas.
At the end of the day, this offseason is going to be exciting. As Rangers Senior VP of Public Relations, John Rosasco told me on Friday, “It is indeed. Will be interesting to see where it all goes.”