Cap Issues Could Lead To A Rangers Youth Movement
Coming off a Stanley Cup Final appearance, the Rangers are faced with many issues going into the off-season. Some of the New York Rangers’ depth players, may be testing the market for bigger roles on other teams. Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, and Benoit Pouliot are 3 of the biggest pieces the Rangers may lose this summer. Derek Dorsett was recently traded at the draft to the Vancouver Canucks for the 85th overall pick, freeing up some cap space in hopes of retaining most of the team that just went to the Cup final.
With the Rangers possibly being forced to replace these players, we look to the young Rangers of the future. Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, Ryan Haggerty (free agent signed out of college), J.T Miller and Jesper Fast, who both spent sometime with the Rangers, including in the playoffs, are candidates.
The two most likely players to replace the ones who may leave, are Miller and Fast. Both with NHL experience, and even playoff experience. You could say they are the first two in line to enter the lineup next year.
J.T Miller seems to be ready for a full-time NHL position. He played in 30 games last season, registering 3 goals and 3 assists, while being a -6 and racking up 18 penalty minutes. In 4 playoffs games, he registered 2 assists and was a +3 on the ice.
Miller is very versatile, he can play both the Wing and Center position, which is very valuable to the team. Though some aspects of his game still need to be worked on, mostly the defensive side of the game, Miller seems to very much be ready to take over a spot next season.
Jesper Fast played 11 games with the Rangers in the regular season. He failed to record any points during that time, and finished as a -5 but was playing mostly in the bottom-six. He did appear in 3 playoff games, where he had 1 assist in an opening round game against the Flyers.
Fast is not afraid to throw his body around dishing out and taking hits. Standing at 6’0″ and 185lbs, he’s not your typical power forward, but he tries to play the game that way, which seemed to have kept him in the lineup. During the pre-season, Fast was getting some penalty kill time, and seemed to fit the role pretty well. Learning the defensive side of the game, and becoming more of a two-way forward, may earn him a spot on the roster next year.
Oscar Lindberg and Danny Kristo are two interesting players. Kristo was acquired last year from the Candiens in a trade that sent Christian Thomas to Montreal. Kristo, who finished up his career in college, North Dakota to be exact, spent all of last year in the AHL.
In 65 games with Hartford, he registered 25 goals and 18 assists for 43 points and 18 penalty minutes. Kristo can add a bit of scoring touch, that the Rangers may lose if Pouliot walks away in free agency.
Lindberg, a Center on the other hand, appeared in 75 games for Hartford, where he registered 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points. A very smart two-way center, Lindberg doesn’t play a physical game. However, he doesn’t shy away from contact and will make a hit when needed. He also takes care of his defensive responsibilities, and contributes offensively with good speed.
Ryan Haggerty has also generated some buzz being signed out of college last March. The 21 year old RW comes in at 6′ and 201 lbs, a little undersized to be a gritty power forward. However he led RPI with 28 goals and 15 assists in 35 games with 42 penalty minutes. Showing a bit of scoring touch with an edge. Still, he hasn’t played a single game in the AHL for the WolfPack and is considered a longshot.
[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bQo5A6dE9Q”]Game Seven Highlights – [/su_youtube]
The Rangers do have some depth and ability to replace players who may leave for other opportunities. With the off-season just beginning, it will be interesting to see what type of moves Sather and company make. Whether they pay up to keep an identical team that just made a Cup run, or they try to go younger and promote from within.
Today is deadline for teams to submit qualifying offers. Only players the Rangers did NOT QO: Falk, Jean, Stajcer, Wilson, Beach.
— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) June 30, 2014