Rangers storylines to follow closely this offseason
Here’s the top Rangers storylines to follow in the offseason. Oddly enough, a lot of these stories are very dependent on each other. Let’s get to it.
Ryan Strome contract
Late last week, I was told the Rangers and Ryan Strome were making progress on a new one or two year deal per a source familiar with the situation. Although they waited almost to the last minute to qualify Strome, they eventually did after seeing what the trade market had to offer.
No new updates at this time.
Brendan Lemieux contract
Restricted free agent Brendan Lemieux was on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast three weeks ago and said a new deal was close. “I am excited, I am sure we will get something done. Something done here soon,” Lemieux answered when asked about his RFA status.
The biggest issue blocking the Rangers from signing Brendan to a new deal is Ryan Strome. That’s because the Rangers need to know what they would be left with once this deal is done.
It is also a calendar issue. The Rangers basically have announced new deals for two of their RFA’s in the order of their arbitration dates starting with Tony DeAngelo who was set for 10/20. Strome’s date is set for 11/5 and Lemieux’s is the day after.
Cap situation, is there room to improve
Once both Strome and Lemieux are signed, the Rangers can then take a look at the UFA landscape. If the Rangers can somehow come up with $2 million in space after those deals, they could maybe find a cheap right defense if they want to move DeAngelo to the left.
Tony DeAngelo move to the left side
There has been a lot of talk about moving Tony DeAngelo to the left side for next season. The 25 year-old defenseman is no stranger to playing his offside as he did for many years in the OHL for the Sarnia Sting.
New York’s highest scoring rearguard is also on record with open to moving to the left side. The primary reason for moving DeAngelo to the left is a simple one. They want to get him into the top four without dropping Adam Fox to the third pair.
Also, beyond Ryan Lindgren the Rangers don’t have a left defenseman that can play top four minutes. Newly signed Jack Johnson was meant to stabilize the third pair on the left side, not replace Marc Staal.
Tarmo Reunanen and Libor Hajek
The Rangers are hoping at least one young defenseman claims a spot on left defense next season. As of right now, Libor Hajek has the inside track to win the job, but Tarmo Reunanen is going to get a hard look too.
K’Andre Miller will be a top four lefty for the Rangers defense. However, he would only add to the cap woes caused by so many performance bonuses. It would also be smart not to rush him and give Miller one season in the AHL.