As the 2019 draft draws near, it seems as though the Rangers will be picking Finnish NHL ready forward Kaapo Kakko with the Devils taking Jack Hughes first overall. Hughes and current NJ Devils leader and one-time League MVP Taylor Hall train together in the summer. Would they risk taking Kakko and have Jack Hughes fall into the Rangers lap and most likely his buddy Hall cross the river to play at MSG as an unrestricted free agent the following summer? We'll all find out in less than 3 weeks.
Is Dallas really willing to give up their first round pick in the 2020 draft to sign Mats Zuccarello as a condition in the trade would kick in? It wouldn't seem like it as Dallas only has their 4th, 5th, and 6th in the 2020 draft if they resign Zucc.
This summers UFA's are Connor Brickley, John Gilmour, Rob O'Gara, and Dustin Tokarski which is easy to see the Rangers let all of the walk away. The RFA's this summer are Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, Tony DeAngelo, Fredrick Claesson, Neal Pionk, Vinni Lettieri, Julius Bergaman, Chris Bigras, Chris Nell, and Brandon Halverson. It woiuld make sense to sign the main RFA's to a 2 or 3 year bridge deal as the big money contracts will be off the cap by then.
The summer of 2020 has a crew of UFA's that if all let walk would save $15,25 million against the cap. The UFA's are Chris Kreider(if not dealt this summer or at the trade deadline), Vladislav Namestnikov, Jimmy Vesey, Matt Beleskey, Jesper Fast, and Steven Fogarty. The only NHL RFA's this summer are Ryan Strome and Alexandar Georgiev.
The biggest summer and the end of the old school Rangers will be the summer of 2021. The big 4 of Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Brendan Smith come off the books for a $25.2 savings off the caphit. By then, there should be a successor to the King in either Georgiev or Shesterkin. To replace Staal, Shattenkirk, and Smith.....any of K'Andre Miller, Libor Hajek, Nils Lundkvist, Ryan Lindgren, Yegor Rykov, or Adam Fox should easily upgrade from the way the defensive vets have fallen off from their top performing years.
By the time we get to the summer of 2021 and the end of the old guard, there will clearly be a few additions and subtractions. Hopefully the Rangers brass won't go the buyout way that will give temporary relief, but would add extra years to the rebuild with extra years of caphit!
LET'S GO RANGERS!!!