Rangers trade deadline actions say the rebuild is over

The New York Rangers made it official today when they locked up Chris Kreider for 7 years at $6.5M per. This now signals the rebuild is over and the organization has made the commitment to start keeping their better players instead of selling them off for picks and prospects.

President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton held a presser yesterday to discuss all moves made and not made. Gorton mentioned that their approach was to be competitive now and still keep an eye on the future. That was the main reasons why they kept Chris Kreider whom they admit was an uncertainty until today and even had deals they were considering.

Keeping Kreider and Fast

John Davidson said that the pluses outweighed the minuses and his play with Mika Zibanejad was a major consideration. Once that decision was reached it impacted their approach for the day. Hypothetically if they didn’t reach an agreement they would’ve had to trade him. Still, keeping Kreider made sense because in possibly less than 2 years time, the Rangers would be buyers and giving away picks and prospects to get a rental just like him.

As for Fast, they just felt he was more valuable on the team the rest of the way. The question is what will they do with him after the season? With Vitali Kravtsov knocking on the door, Fast’s rights are likely to be dealt at the draft.

Trading Skjei was a necessity

The Rangers are overloaded with prospects on defense. They’ve already moved Joey Keane for Julien Gauthier and now sent Brady Skjei to Carolina for a 1st rd luck. John Davidson was excited that the team is competitive but still has an eye on the future. The deal now gives them three first round picks and 19 picks in the next 2 drafts. Brendan Smith will slot in for now. Gorton did say that this was a cap move as well as opening a spot for kids. Those kids are either K’Andre Miller or most likely Nils Lundkvist. The latter is a right defenseman so moving Tony DeAngelo there is the next logical move.

Future in goal

JD called it a curveball when discussing the car accident and the injuries to Pavel Buchnevich and Igor Shesterkin. Gorton said it didn’t impact their decisions at the deadline, so it seems obvious the team wants a future that has both Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev in it. So where does that leave the King?

Henrik Lundqvist wants to talk about his future and where he stands in the organization. Davidson said Hank’s been a pro but they will need to talk about the situation since it is only fair to both parties. JD said he is confident that there will be a resolution but it does sound like it could be the end of Henrik’s career as a Ranger. The big question is this, does Hank want to continue his NHL career, or does he want to retire. If Lundqvist chooses the latter the Rangers will get back all $8.5M on the books. If that is the case, not only can they sign all their UFA’s but they can target a center in the UFA market or look for a trade.

From Rebuilders to Contender

So here we are with the clear message that the rebuild is over. The Rangers sold off two deadlines in a row. On this deadline they assessed where they were and technically got the best player available when they signed Kreider. Now as they continue to integrate key young players, the Rangers can position themselves as buyers in 2021. Times are officially changing at the Garden.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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