The Rangers have 20 games remaining in the regular season, have a record of 27-26-9 and have a 0.6% chance of of making the playoffs.
The Rangers are 9th from the bottom in the standings, with 63 points, and currently have a 16% chance of landing a top-three lottery pick and a 5% chance of landing #1 overall.
As of right now the Rangers are slated to have the following picks in June’s draft:
- 1st Round: 2 (Their own pick and Winnipeg’s)
- 2nd Round: 3 (Their own, Tampa and Dallas. Tampa can turn into a 2019 1st round pick if they win the Stanley Cup, Dallas can turn into a 2019 1st round pick if the Stars reach the Conference Finals and Mats Zuccarello plays in 50% of the games)
- 3rd Round: 1
- 4th Round: 1 (From Columbus)
- 5th Round: 1
- 6th Round: 1
- 7th Round: 1 (From Columbus)
The following players are RFA after the season: Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, Neal Pionk, Tony DeAngelo, Freddy Claesson, Vinni Lettieri, Chris Bigras, Julius Bergman.
As of right now the Rangers have $61 million committed to next season’s roster.
Pending UFAs that may be of interest to the Rangers this summer include Artemi Panarin, Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, Jeff Skinner, Wayne Simmonds, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello.
Some pending RFAs that may be of interest to the Rangers, and would require an offer sheet and loss of draft picks, include Jacob Trouba, Brayden Point, Mikko Raantanen, Mitch Marner, Patrik Laine, Matthew Tkachuk and others.
Adam Rotter: The rest of this season is about getting more ice time for Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson and Brett Howden, seeing what Brendan Lemieux can bring and finding out if Ryan Strome, Jimmy Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich, Neal Pionk and Tony DeAngelo can be consistent and productive players. It’s only 20 games but that stretch, coupled with their performance this season, should give the Rangers a good amount of info to see who else will join Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and the young players as part of the future.
Whether it breaks down as 2 firsts and 3 seconds, 4 firsts and one second or 3 firsts and 2 seconds, having five picks in the first two rounds can allow the Rangers to be creative in either moving up or trying to acquire roster players. There is a lot of time before the UFA market is finalized but we do expect the Rangers to go after Artemi Panarin. The Rangers are still considered the favorite, by some around the league, to land him but there is growing belief that Florida may throw an absurd amount of money at both Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky to bring them to Florida. Outside of Panarin, Jeff Skinner certainly would be an option, though the Rangers may be wary of going long-term on someone with his concussion history and many believe he will stay in Buffalo, and then there is Erik Karlsson. Until he signs an extension with San Jose and is off the market Karlsson can’t be ruled out.
What will be very interesting to see this summer is if the Rangers make any waves in the RFA market. Every year there is talk that this is the year people will start going after RFAs but with the crop of players available and the salaries they may look to command, it may finally be the year. Usually the big issues with RFAs are the draft pick compensation and retribution in the future but it would allow the Rangers to land an elite young player.
The main takeaway is that yesterday’s trade deadline ended the Rangers teardown period. They are no longer selling off any pieces and will fully enter the period of building up and making hockey trades with the goal of returning to the playoffs. They have their coach, they have their goalie and their number one center and winger, Chris Kreider will almost certainly sign an extension this summer and possibly the Captain, and will build out from there. There will certainly be ups and downs, players that don’t meet expectations and surprises along the way but the Rangers are now full speed ahead in the build part of their rebuild.