General Manager Glen Sather and Assistant G.M. Jeff Gorton have had a busy signing season this past season along with a few trades starting from March to this present time and seem to be working on at least one trade to come before the season begins. It all started with the trade of ex-Ranger captain Ryan Callahan and two #1 picks plus a #7 rounder for Martin St. Louis and a #2 round pick. The Rangers added players for picks such as Dan Carcillo and Rafeal Diaz for depth which was well needed on a Rangers playoff run to the Stanley Cup Final. The signings extending the current group of players or bringing in replacements for the players that moved on the "greener" pastures such as Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot, and the buyout of Brad Richards have kept Sather and Gorton busy by signing 23 players. All of the players signed are not for top line positions but also for the depth in case of injuries and for the AHL Hartford Wolfpack.
Half of the oraganization that has signedthat are extensions, Ranger prospects or free agents are Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Boyle, Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Dominic Moore, Tanner Glass, Matthew Lombardi, Lee Stepniak, Chris Muller, Steven Kampfer, Chris Bourque, Cedric Desjardins, Petr Zamorsky, Matt Bodie, Ryan Haggerty, Anthony Duclair, Chris McCarthy, Troy Donnay, M. Skapski, Calle Andersson, Ryan Graves, and Nick Tarnasky, So the top end of management has been very busy in what direction they want the Rangers to go. The Rangers seem to be at the 50 NHL contracts allowed, but prospects Anthony Duclair can be a returned to Juniors and allow the Rangers to add another player.
The problem in the organization is, in spite of all the work that management has done, there is still much to be done! For most of next years Unristricted free agents, they can't be extended until after January 1st due to league rules. The players that CAN be extended now are Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, and Cameron Talbot. It seems that the Rangers are looking at all 3 to stay in Ranger Blue and the focus is now on them. If Marc Staal and the Rangers can't come to an agreement by the trade deadline, it is expected that he would be moved for assetsas the Kevin Klein could move up to a top 4 spot and of Dylan McIlrath, Conor Allen, Matt Hunwick, Steven Kampfer, or Michael Kostka could fill in the short term and Brady Skjei will take a top 4 role in the long term gameplan. The rest of next years unrestricted free agents that could sign extensions AFTER January are Mats Zuccarello(most likely has already agreed to an extension at close to $4.5-$5 for 4-5 years), Lee Stepniak, Michael Kostka, Matt Hunwick, Steven Kampfer, Chris Bourque, and Chris Mueller. The last 4 were only brought into the organization this year and need to prove they are worthy of an extension and can play in the Rangers' system. There are many oin the Rangers system that haven't played regularly or at all in the NHL that are restricted frr agents next year, some with arbitration rights and some aren't. The main targets here are Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller, and Dylan McIlrath. Also having to be qualified are Conor Allen, Matt Bodie, Jason Missiaen, Oscar Lindberg, Andrew Yogan, Marek Hrivik,Danny Kristo, and Ryan Bourque.
The Rangers lineup now seems set, but anything can happen between now and the start of the season. There are still a few very good free agents out there that has to have the their price dropping that will tempt the Rangers front office to add one or two to the organization. The Rangers "say" they want to add from inside the organization with players such as J.T. Miller, Dylan McIlrath, or Jesper Fast but they would have to either make a trade or send down an experienced veteran to make room. The Rangers are still working the phones so expect sather and Gorton to tweak their current group before they report to camp at the end of August!!
LET'S GO RANGERS!!!!!!!