Well boys and girls, the New York Rangers are rebuilding. Yeah, even though they released “The letter” a few weeks ago, I did not think they were actually going to blow it up. Do you blame me? Over the last couple of seasons the Rangers have used the term “Rebuild on the fly” and I sort of assumed that’s what they were going to continue to do. Having said that, this is the most excited I’ve been since the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Rangers made most of what they had over the last few years and that is extremely commendable. However, the Rangers weren’t going to sniff a Stanley Cup without any legitimate Franchise type players. Look at Pittsburgh, Chicago and the Kings. What do they all have in common? A stud center: Crosby, Malkin, Toews, Kopitar and someone to carry heavy minutes in the D-zone: Letang, Keith, Doughty. Yes, we had McDonagh but assuming the players who were discussed were in their prime, McDonagh would’ve been a number 2 on each one of those teams. Building on that, these teams listed above didn’t have the ridiculous contracts of Dan Girardi or Marc Staal. It just wasn’t going to work. So instead of continuing with the likes of these players, the Rangers decided to press the reset button and start from scratch. In order to put teams together like the Pens, Hawks, Kings, Preds, or Tampa, you have to be able to draft higher, smarter and hit your marks. Now, I’m going to break down all the New York Rangers Deadline Deals.
Nick Holden to Boston for Rob O’Gara and a 2018 3rd Round Pick
During the deadline, I’m sure you heard about playoff teams trying to acquire “depth” defenseman. This shouldn’t surprise you as the Rangers did it in the past with a player like Rafi Diaz. The last thing a team needs is a top 6 defenseman to get hurt and insert an inexperienced kid or a AHL vet. The Rangers did a great job getting a 3rd round pick for Nick Holden. Here’s the thing, I can’t stand Nick Holden but in reality it’s not his fault. On a Stanley Cup contending team, as a 6-7 defenseman, Nick Holden is a good player. Why Rangers fans, and myself included, started disliking Holden was because he was playing top minutes with Ryan McDonagh. Why? No fucking idea. Shattenkirk was supposedly brought in to play with Mac and it never happened. Could it be coaching? Well, yeah it absolutely could be but thats neither here nor there. A third round pick and a young defenseman who was in need of a shot was a great deal for both teams.
Michael Grabner to the Devils for Yegor Rykov and a 2018 2nd Round Pick
I’m going to start my saying I HATE the Devils. Everything about them. Even though I can’t stand New Jersey, I like that fact that even though they are the Rangers rivals, it didn’t stop Gorton from getting the best possible deal for Grabner. Grabner was a huge part of the Rangers but was going to be a free agent at the end of this year. Why hold on to someone like that if you’re not going to make the playoffs and, at the same time, have a reasonable shot of re-signing them? Yegor Rykov currently plays on the same team as Rangers prospect Igor Shestyorkin. Rykov had a good showing at the World Junior Championships, having put up 7 points (1g, 6a) in 7 games played. You know for a fact this was a name the Rangers wanted because they did their homework. What do I mean by that? The Rangers for sure have someone over in the KHL watching Shestyorkin perform and must’ve seen something they liked in Rykov. Even though he may not be making the jump to the States any time soon, Rykov will be more familiar with the way the Rangers do business. The second round pick is also huge. Why? This is supposed to be one of the deepest drafts in a while and the Devils aren’t guaranteed to make that long of a run. A mid-late second round draft pick may end up turning into a player the Rangers will have for years to come.
Rick Nash to Boston for Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, 2018 1st Round Pick, 2019 7th Round Pick
In my opinion, Rick Nash isn’t the same Rick Nash that used to put fear into teams. He’s older, suffered concussions and doesn’t have the scoring ability he once had. What does he have? Reputation, playoff experience and the ability to play a great two way game. For the Bruins, Rick Nash will no longer be “the man” counted on to score goals. He will finally be put into a system where he can play his game and will thrive. The Rangers, also, were able to acquire a decent package. Ryan Spooner is a fantastic player, as Brett once blogged. Spooner was never really given a shot in Boston because it’s hard for a player to get TOI battling with the likes of Bergeron and Krecji. On a rebuilding team, Spooner will be able to assume more responsibility and that is exactly what he needs. Ryan Lindgren is a decent prospect playing for the university of Minnesota. He is an established leader and defensive defenseman who loves throwing his body around, like right here.
Although not a flashy player, Lindgren will quietly make it to the NHL where he will hopefully be a player that can shut down other teams more proficient lines. Matt Beleskey was taken to eat salary but I hope he gets a shot with the big club. Everything spoken about this guy is he has great character, a strong work ethic and will stand up for teammates. In the middle of a rebuild, you’re going to need guys like this to serve as someone to look up to. Lastly, the Rangers were able to acquire a First Round Pick and a 7th Round pick. Again, this years draft is supposed to be stacked, so the more first round picks the better. The 7th round pick is in 2019 and even though it was a throw in there are some names that were taken later rounds such as Datsyuk and the king Henrik Lundqvist.
Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller for Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, Vladislav Namestnikov, 2018 1st Round Pick and a conditional 2nd Round Pick
At first I hated this. Every single NHL insider were saying the Rangers we’re getting a Haul for JT and Mac. Reading that, much like other Rangers fans, I assumed that Sergachev or Point were coming back the other way. Because it’s a few hours after the trade, I’ve calmed down a bit and I honestly don’t hate this. JT Miller and Namestnikov to me are a scratch. JT was up for a big contract and even though he had some bright spots, it always seemed like consistency was his problem. Now in Tampa, JT won’t have to struggle with a bi-polar coach and I think this will do wonders for his career. Vlady has put up points this year (20g, 24a) but will no longer be playing with Stammer and Kuch. He will also be up for contract soon but is expected to make far less than JT Miller. I wouldn’t mind seeing Vlad paired up with Buchnevich but knowing our coach he’ll probably center the fourth line with Cody McLeod and Paul Carey (I kid, I kid…but really).
Ryan McDonagh was a great New York Ranger. He battled night in and night out and was one of the best defenseman the Rangers have had, at least since I’ve been alive. We’re now talking rebuild. Like I said before its imperative for the Rangers to acquire picks and prospects to help turn this ship around properly. Selling McDonagh now, I believe was the right move. I think you were going to get more for McDonagh now than any other time just because whatever team he went to was going to get 2 runs at the cup with him. Even though there is no STAR studded name attached, you have to believe this was the best possible offer the Rangers were going to get for McDonagh. Gorton isn’t going to trade his best defenseman just because he wants to. Brett Howden seems like a decent prospect and he’s ripping up the WHL right now putting up 22 goals and 36 assists. A former first round pick, Howden has a chance of becoming an impact player. The name that was interesting to me was Libor Hajek. It was said that the Rangers were not going to do this deal unless Hajek was included. In 7 games at the World Junior Championships, Hajek put up 1 goal and 7 assists. Whose team was he playing on? Filip Chytil, another top Rangers prospect. Again, the Rangers did their homework with the prospects acquired. On top of all of these players, the Rangers also got another First Round Pick and a conditional 2nd Round Pick. The 2nd Round Pick turns to a First Round Pick if the Lightning end up winning the cup. You know who I’m going to be rooting for this year.
It’s definitely a different time for Rangers fans. The New York Rangers have been so good to us the last few years and that should not be forgotten. Going through this rebuild, we will see who is a true New York Rangers fan. Like I said, it’s exciting times in Rangerstown but I ask you to be patient. This rebuild will not happen overtime and more than likely we are going to be losing a lot of games in the foreseeable future. Don’t get mad, don’t get rattled. Be hopeful for the future that awaits as the Rangers are finally doing it the right way in their quest for the Stanley Cup.