In Jeff Gorton's first summer as Rangers general manager he has made some pretty good cap friendly deals for the lower 6 forwards and depth while extending Derek Stepan at a reasonable price. In the Cap World, there will always be players and teams that have to adjust because the raise they are due makes them unable to stay with the team and this summer it happened to be Carl Hagelin. Hag's was a very useful Ranger and played a solid role in the Rangers success over the last few years, but the raise he wanted (he signed with the Ducks for $16 million over 4 years) that took him out of the Rangers plans and got him sent to Anaheim in exchange for Emerson Etem (at a very cap friendly amount of under $1 million for this upcoming season). The Rangers also sent a 6th rounder and their 2nd for the Ducks 2nd that moved the Rangers up 18 spots in that round and they were lucky enough to grab LW Ryan Gropp. Emerson Etem has history with a couple of the Rangers young core American members and he was in need of an organizational change of systems which he seems to fit in perfect to the way the Rangers play. The Rangers saw over the last few years that they needed to get bigger at forward and they did that this summer without losing too much speed.
This summer the Rangers are going to have real competition for the final 3 forward positions and at least for the 6/7 spot on defense. The Rangers have to put up or shut up with players like Oscar Lindberg and Dylan McIlrath because for the first time, if they don't make the NHL club theymost likely will not make it through waivers which they now have to pass through. Lindberg and McIlrath both signed 1-way contracts at very reasonable amounts, Lindberg signed for 2 years at $650,000 and McIlrath deal was for 1 year at $600,000 both less that their qualifiers. Emerson Etem should find his way to the top 9 as he has plenty of speed and with his history playing with the American kids, high school with Stepan, USA team with Hayes, etc. Victor Stalberg is already on the ice practicing and shooting on Henrik Lundqvist in Sweden and knows he is playing for his NHL career so look for a great season for him and his 6'3" 200 pound frame. The Rangers traded Ryan Haggerty for backup goalie Antti Raanta, who will take the place of Cameron Talbot, who after all the deals were done- the Rangers got Kovacs,Zborovsky, Morrison, and Huska for. At this time, it seems that with the #62 pick the Rangers got a future Carl Hagelin type player which would be a steal. The newest addition was Jarrett Stoll who was a castoff of the L.A. Kings organization due to his "party favors" he got arrested for. After meeting with the NHL offices and multiple interviews and asking around, the Rangers signed him to a "prove you can still play" 1 year $800,000 contract. If it wasn't for the arrest, there is no way possible he could have been signed for that small amount as he is the exact player the Rangers need to help with faceoffs, a problem for the last few years.
Then there are the players that allwere brought in for depth but a few can be expected to be lost through waivers before they get to Hartford. You have forwards Jayson Megna, Luke Adam (who when I saw play against the Rangers a few years back in Traverse City reallythought he looked like a solid power forward high end prospect), and Brian Gibbons while on the back-end besides McIlrath you have Raphael Diaz and Chris Summers. Brady Skjei and Mat Bodie don't have to pass through waivers.
Although the Rangers lost Martin St. Louis, Cameron Talbot, Carl Hagelin, and Matt Hunwick they oraganization feels they are solid with the replacements of Victor Stalberg, Antii Raanta, Emerson Etem, Jarrett Stoll, and Raphael Diaz' return. Coach Alain Vigneault has said that he would like to see around 3 new faces in the lineup to keep the hunger for the Stanley Cup hunt going. It seems with these additions, he will clearly have it. But with the core he has in New York of Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Keven Hayes, J.T. Miller, and Jesper Fast they will be a motivated bunch for a number of more years. You add players like Keith Yandle and Rick Nash to that crew and it is clearly a Cup contender.
General Manager Jeff Gorton says that he is done, he is at the 50 contracts but 2 can slide and make room for another signing, but he did say that he is listening to offers. I still see the Rangers making a multi-player deal to make room for PAvel Buchnevich for when his KHL season is over , the KHL season ends earlier this year so he could be the "trade deadline move" without losing any player on the current roster. The Rangers have been rebuilding while still contending. The big question is, when will they have enough to lift the Cup in victory. They are very close right now. LET'S GO RANGERS!!!