Craig Button, TSN Director of Scouting has placed Rangers forward pick Vitali Kravtsov as #1 on TSN's Top 50 NHL-Affiliated Prospects and Rangers goalie pick Igor Shesterkin as #10. Hang tight Rangertown, help is coming!
A little over the halfway point, this years version of the "Lose For Hughes" Rangers aren't doing poorly enough at this time to get a top 2 pick. This Rangers team still has too much talent to be a bottom feeder and will remain in the "not good enough for the playoffs" but "not a bottom 3 loser". With Lundqvist between the pipes, there is always a chance to win on most nights. With vets like Hayes, Kreider, Zuccarello, Staal, and Zibanejad to name a few.....these Rangers have alittle too much to fall to the bottom. That's why it's time to make some trades. GM Gorton is in his office because he made a minor trade dealing Cole Schneider for Connor Brickley. Now to make the bigger moves.
We all know that The King Lundqvist says he wants to finish his career a lifelong Ranger, but not only should he worry about the frustrating games when the Rangers just don't show up, he needs to worry about his NHL legacy. Lundqvist has a great shot at ending up in the top 5 of all-time NHL goalie wins, but he has the Vegas goalie right on his heals only 12 wins behind and will easily pass him by if he stays on the Rangers. Even if Panarin signs with the Rangers this offseason as many in the NHL world thinks, the Rangers will still need the defense to mature quicker than it will actually take to make The Kings final years competetive game in and game out. His number will one day be hanging in the Garden rafters, but Hank should ask for a trade to give him at shot at the Cup which will not happen with the Rangers in the near future.
With the likelyhood of Rangers GM Gorton going to sell off more veterans by this years trade deadline, it would seem that Zuccarello, Hayes, McQuaid, McLeod, Fast....or even Shattenkirk or Kreider might bring the Rangers prospects and picks to finalize the Rangers rebuild. With a roster of Kreider/Zibanejad/Fast--Namestikov/Kravstov/Buchnevich---Chytil/Howden/Strome---Vesey/Andersson/Meskanen---/ Staal/Pionk---Skjei/Shattenkirk---Hajek/Lindgren-----King Henrik/Shesterkin----along with the buyout of Smith, the Rangers will have over 17 million dollars under the cap (thats with Buchnevich and Pionk signing for the Rangers going rate for bridge contracts of $2.45 mil per). That amount would be more than enough for Panarin or Erik Karlsoon. Maybe if you buy out Staal also, maybe you can get both of those top level players to make the rebuild happen overnight.
WWGD this offseason stand for What Will Gorton Do????? We know his in the office taking calls. He's trying to make Hartford a playoff team because at least it would give Kravston and Sheterkin some plyoff action when they come over this year. With the Lindgren callup, getting him some NHL action will help for next year. One question for the GM, how hasn't John Gilmour seen any NHL sction this year??
The next few weeks will be exciting in Rangerstown. Move a few more pieces Gorton and get this rebuild on solid ground. LET'S GO RANGERS!!!!
The Rangers dead cap space next season 2019-2020 due to Girardi buyout ($3,611,111)+ Spooner retained ($900,000) + Beleskey buried in AHL ($825,000) next season so far will be $5,336,111. The following year only Girardi will be left at $1,111,111 for the folowing 3 years.