Updated New York Rangers offseason storylines: Eichel, assistant coaches, buyouts, and more

By Forever Blueshirts
Feb 15, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) put New York Rangers right wing Jesper Fast (17) into the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers offseason is going to kick into another gear soon. If the Tampa Bay Lightning can close out the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 tonight the action around the league could pick up.

Chris Drury checked off one big item from his to do list when he hired Gerard Gallant. Next up will be hiring assistant coaches, finalizing the expansion draft protected list, and then what to do with pick 15 in the draft.

Let’s review the latest info on what fans should be keeping an eye on this summer.

Mike Kelly was Gallant’s assistant in Florida and Vegas. However, the two also worked in QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs. Kelly was an assistant to Gallant from 2010 to 2012 while there. Kelly has also worked as GM and head coach in various other stops, including winning Gold with Team Canada in 2003 at IIHF World U18.

Odds are that he will return to Gallant’s side with the Rangers.

rangers assistant coach
Mike Kelly with Gerard Gallant in Florida (NHLI/Getty Images)

Another name to keep an eye on is Ryan McGill whom Gallant worked with in Vegas as well. He played for the Blackhawks before getting into the coaching ranks in the OHL and WHL. McGill also has ties to the Blueshirts as the Wolf Pack’s head coach from 2003-2005.

Finally, according to a report in The Athletic, Dan Girardi is being considered to be part of the new coaching staff. He is most likely a Drury desired candidate, but it appears that Don Granato in Buffalo will want to bring him back to his Sabres staff.

What will the Rangers do with their first round pick

We reported back on June 7th that the Rangers first overall pick was in play this summer.

On July 23rd -24th the NHL Draft will take place and Chris Drury currently holds the 15th selection after the lottery drawing.

There’s been speculation that the Rangers, who have an overload of young players and prospects would package the 15th overall pick. A knowledgeable source confirmed that all options are on the table this summer and that includes moving the first round selection.

The speculation was that the pick would only be in a trade for a big center like Jack Eichel. Another source has informed me that even if the Rangers miss on the Sabres center, they could still use that pick to improve in other areas.

If the Rangers do opt to keep the pick, look for them to draft the best available center. Aatu Raty would be my choice but he’s unlikely to be there. Fedor Svechkov is a more realistic draft option.

Rangers buyout and Seattle Expansion

seattle expansion
Apr 13, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) is congratulated by center Brett Howden (21) after the game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Kraken will start to build their hockey team on July 21st. That is the date set for the Expansion Draft. We know that Blueshirts will probably be exposing Tony DeAngelo, unless they opt to buy him out before that.

The first buyout window opens 48 hours after the Final concludes and closes on July 27th. That’s why I don’t think the Rangers use it until after the 22nd. His buyout will add a little over $4 million in cap space, giving them close to $30 million in space.

Regardless, it is unlikely the Kraken select DeAngelo. I believe it will come down to Brett Howden and Julien Gauthier. However, the Rangers must sign them in order to qualify and meet the requirements. Otherwise, it will be Colin Blackwell exposed and taken by the Kraken.

Rangers trading for Jack Eichel or another top center

When it comes to Jack Eichel, trade talks have picked up around the 24 year-old center. A deal is coming before the NHL Draft, I’m 100% sure of it.

Over the last week, the Rangers have once again re-engaged with the Sabres in trade talks. Recent reporting by Larry Brooks of the NY Post stated Chris Drury was  in contact with the Sabres. He wasn’t sure if it was due diligence or more, but it appears the Rangers are back in the mix.

Eichel’s agent is also on record saying, “We are communicating with the team and are heading towards a resolution.”

While other media outlets insist that there are a number of teams in on Eichel, I get the sense it is down to the Rangers and Ducks. If the Rangers miss out on Eichel, they could still go after Evgeny Kuznetsov or Sean Monahan.

Who will the Rangers add to the blue-line

The Blueshirts are said to be adding a veteran to the blue-line, most likely through free agency. Depending on how things shake out on the Eichel front, I doubt they would be in the market for a big name like David Savard. The growing consensus was UFA defenseman Alec Martinez but he may be seeking too many years at age 34.

There is also the trade route, and a former Golden Knights defender that played for Gallant is available in Vancouver. If the Canucks will eat some salary a deal could be in the cards.

How will the Rangers revamp the bottom six

new york rangers rumors
Feb 19, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) takes a face off against Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jordan Martinook (48) at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

This is probably one of the biggest reasons from a lineup standpoint why the old regime was changed. The Rangers need to change their bottom six to be able to battle in the tough Eastern Conference. I’ve already dropped some potential UFA’s like Casey Cizikas, and Jordan Martinook here.

Other cheaper options could be Blake Coleman, and Barclay Goodrow in Tampa.

Latest NHL Trade rumors

Changes are coming for the Golden Knights. Read more here.