Heading into the 2017-18 season, the New York Rangers were thought to be one of the strongest contenders in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, especially considering some of the moves they made during the previous summer. They did not however go according to plans...
Rangers management made it clear prior to the deadline, and elected to tear things down and rebuild from the ground up as general manager Jeff Gorton and president Glen Sather issued a letter to the team’s fanbase, warning them to brace for change. As you know, the Rangers were huge sellers at the deadline, where captain Ryan McDonagh was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who also acquired forward J.T. Miller. The Lightning sent Vladislav Namestnikov, a 2018 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick in 2019, defensive prospect Libor Hajek forward prospectBrett Howden. The conditional second-round pick becomes a first-rounder if the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in either 2018 or 2019. And let's not forget that veteran Rick Nash was moved to the Boston Bruins in return for a 2018 first-rounder, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, defenseman Ryan Lindgren plus a seventh-round pick in 2019.The Rangers also sent Michael Grabner to the New Jersey Devils for a 2018 second-round pick and prospect Yegor Rykov.
They have surely loaded up on prospects and picks.
Maybe a tad too much, if that's even possible? The Athletic's Craig Custance has revealed after speaking with Gorton that the Rangers are bracing themselves for a major moves this summer. New York seems to be getting ready to make significant changes in the offseason, in hopes of getting a quick rebuild done and returns as one of the strongest contenders in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
It is believed that the Rangers could be willing to move a first-round pick ahead of the draft to get what they want.
“The fact that you have picks and you have the ability to get your assets, it makes you a little more popular amongst your peers,” Gorton told The Athletic.
“At the point we’re at, we’re looking to get as many good players as we can,” Gorton added. “We’re trying to rebuild. It’s hard to say no to anything. We have to keep our options open and I think we’ll do that.”
When fans hear the scary word "rebuild" they quickly assume that it means young players are going need to grow and learn the ways of the NHL, and then years later, the team will become a contender because these youngsters will have found a chemistry, a way of winning. However, Gorton disagrees, which is doomed to please fans in the Big Apple.
“They can’t all be 18 (years old),” Gorton said. “You need different age groups to build your team.”
Custance's colleague, insider Pierre LeBrun, also expects to see a first-rounder move from the Rangers, as they could be making headlines after the Stanley Cup final with a blockbuster deal.
“But they have their own pick, they have Boston’s pick from the Rick Nash deal, and of course they have the Tampa pick from the Ryan McDonagh deal. So one pick is obviously worth a lot more than the other two, and I suspect it’s the lower ones that they would look at moving. But I think the Rangers, who were the busiest team by far around the deadline, are far from done. They want to rebuild, but I think they want to rebuild aggressively similar to what Boston did; which is not rebuild forever, but try to get going within a couple of years here.
“So I’d keep an eye on the Blueshirts here in this offseason.”
Back in December, before the Rangers decided to be sellers at the trade deadline, they had reportedly entered the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes. The Ottawa Senators star defenseman didn't head up moving at the deadline, but trade chatter remains that he could be on the move this summer.
Players of Karlsson’s caliber do not come cheap. A deal with the Rangers would most likely included a veteran or NHL-ready player, one of Lias Andersson or Filip Chytil, and at least two draft picks. But maybe a first-rounder would make the difference...