2020-21 record 27-23-6, 60 points
5th in the MassMutual NHL East Division
Missed the postseason for the first time since 2020
Additions: F Sammy Blais (acquired from STL), F Barclay Goodrow (acquired from TBL), F Dryden Hunt, F Greg McKegg, F Ryan Reaves (acquired from VGK), D Patrik Nemeth, D Jarred Tinordi
Subtractions: F Colin Blackwell (expansion, SEA), F Pavel Buchnevich (traded to STL), F Phillip Di Giuseppe (signed with VAN), F Brett Howden (traded to VGK), F Patrick Newell (Eliteserien), D Tony DeAngelo (buyout, signed with CAR), D Nick DeSimone (rights acquired from VGK, signed with CGY), D Jack Johnson (signed to a PTO with COL), D Darren Raddysh (signed with TBL), D Yegor Rykov (KHL), D Brendan Smith (signed with CAR)
Still Unsigned: F Gabriel Fontaine, D Brandon Crawley
Re-signed: F Filip Chytil, F Julien Gauthier, F Tim Gettinger, F Ty Ronning, D Libor Hajek, G Adam Huska, G Igor Shesterkin
Offseason Analysis: Well, this offseason happened.
Because nobody sought vengeance for Tom Wilson’s shenanigans, Rangers owner, James Dolan, arose from his desk and remembered that he owns more than just the New York Knicks.
Heads were rolling as Chris Drury was instated as New York’s General Manager before last season ended– leaving Jeff Gorton to take a role with NHL Network during the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Gerard Gallant replaced David Quinn behind the bench.
If the Rangers had a good thing going from the second-half of last season onward, well, they’ve surely burned it to the ground in a scorched-Earth search for guys that’ll punch other guys in the face for their 2021-22 roster.
Greg McKegg and Dryden Hunt are extra bodies to stockpile with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) until somebody gets injured or booted out of the Rangers’ lineup because they’re suspended for trying to take Wilson’s head off or something.
New York was one or two pieces away from being a playoff contender and currently has about $8.872 million in cap space with almost $30 million to spend next summer when pending-restricted free agent, Kaapo Kakko, needs a new deal.
But for the time being, the Rangers decided to punt.
Sure, Jack Eichel is still available if the Buffalo Sabres ever decide to trade him one of these days (with or without letting him get his desired surgery done).
Drury’s logic, however, doesn’t necessarily see a fit for Eichel on the team– I mean, is he even tough enough?!?
Mika Zibanejad’s name is out there for some reason. He’s not too pleased by the rumor mill churning up whatever it can to excite Rangers fans about a team that took one step forward and two steps back on paper.
Pavel Buchnevich didn’t have to be traded. But he was.
Nothing makes sense anymore.
On July 17th, Drury traded a 2022 7th round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the rights to restricted free agent forward, Barclay Goodrow, then signed Goodrow to a six-year extension worth about $3.642 million per season.
The 28-year-old had 6-14–20 totals in 55 games last season en route to winning his second-straight Stanley Cup ring with the Lightning, but Buchnevich, 26, had 20-28–48 totals in 54 games.
Somebody’s got to replace the scoring.
That same day, Brett Howden was dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights for Nick DeSimone’s rights and a 2022 4th round pick, but DeSimone tested the waters of free agency and signed with the Calgary Flames.
On July 23rd, Buchnevich was traded to the St. Louis Blues for Sammy Blais and a 2022 2nd round pick.
Blais had 8-7–15 totals in 36 games for St. Louis last season while battling injury and bouts on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list.
There’s still 13 points to replace to makeup for trading Buchnevich.
On July 29th, Drury listened to Gallant’s preferences for a rougher style, if not a personal request for a familiar face as New York traded a 2022 3rd round pick to Vegas for Ryan Reaves, who, at 34-years-old had 1-4–5 totals in 37 games for the Golden Knights.
Though he kept his penalty minutes relatively low with only 27 minutes spent in the box in 2020-21, he was suspended for two games in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs for his intent to injure then Colorado Avalanche defender, Ryan Graves, on an unnecessary roughing incident in front of Colorado’s own net.
But hey, an eye for an eye, right?
If you can’t beat them on the scoreboard– just beat them up instead.
It’s worked well for the Philadelphia Flyers since 1975.
Don’t want to fight Goodrow or Reaves? How about Jarred Tinordi on the defense? Maybe Patrik Nemeth?
Both were signed in free agency– Nemeth to a three-year contract worth $2.500 million per season and Tinordi on a two-year deal with a $900,000 cap hit.
Ryan Strome and Zibanejad are pending-unrestricted free agents and if Drury’s done enough to alienate them from whatever plan they bought into when the Rangers were on the rise coming out of their recent rebuild, then they’re the biggest pieces of trade bait for the team going into the deadline.
That’s not what you’d like to hear if you have aspirations of acquiring Eichel, since New York can’t guarantee that either player would want to stick around in Buffalo for longer than this season.
At the very least, Ryan Lindgren’s three-year extension with a $3.000 million cap hit looks pretty nice on the blue line and Igor Shesterkin’s four-year extension worth $5.667 million per season is good enough to foster healthy competition between Alexandar Georgiev and Shesterkin for the surefire starting goaltender role.
Offseason Grade: D
The Rangers didn’t have to do this to themselves and yet, here we are.
They were a team on the verge of something special with one or two more pieces to go and a little more experience to gain as the younger players learn and grow.
Instead, New York chose to go in the opposite direction– to overreact rather than react accordingly. A few irrational decisions means is the difference between middle of the road insanity and making the playoffs.
It seems like the Rangers are destined for the former once again in 2021-22.