The Rangers play their first game of 2020 tonight against the Calgary Flames.
The Rangers currently sit at 19-16-4 which is 11th in the East and 7 points behind Philly for the final Wild Card spot.
This summer, if the salary cap remains at $81.5 million, the Rangers would have 14 players under contract and $15.7 million in cap space.
The UFAs the Rangers have this summer include Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast, Greg McKegg, Steven Fogarty and Micheal Haley.
RFAs this summer include Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, Tony DeAngelo and Alex Georgiev. All of them can file for arbitration.
Adam Rotter: 2019 was a year that began with a second straight sell-off at the trade deadline and a drop in overall play and in the standings. It picked up though with getting the second overall pick, drafting Kaapo Kakko, trading for Adam Fox, trading for Jacob Trouba, signing Artemi Panarin and bringing John Davidson back as President.
This first half of the 2019-20 season has for the most part been positive and a step in the right direction for the rebuilding Rangers. It hasn’t been perfect as Vitali Kravtsov left and came back and Lias Andersson requesting a trade, but on the whole Artemi Panarin has been great, Mika Zibanejad continues to become a Franchise-level center, Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren look like a potential defense pairing the Rangers can carry long into the future, Filip Chytil is growing, Tony DeAngelo is developing and the team is developing an identity.
What will 2020 bring? The rest of this season will likely bring a valiant effort towards grabbing a Wild Card spot but ultimately come up short and bring the Rangers another pick in the 8-12 range. Ultimately 2020 will bring answers to the questions of Chris Kreider and Alex Georgiev’s future. Kreider will be handledwith first and my gut says that he’s ultimately moved for a package including a young roster player, a first round pick and maybe a prospect. I think the demand for him and the Rangers potential return will outweigh trying to keep him for a playoff run.
Georgiev will remain past the deadline but likely be moved at the draft to a team that flamed out in the playoffs because of goaltending. That will leave the Rangers future in net to Igor Shesterkin who will respond with a start to the 2020-21 season with a performance much like Henrik Lundqvist’s in 2005-06 and keep the organization on solid footing. Through the end of this season and the start of next, Kaapo Kakko will turn a corner and head towards All-Stardom, Vitali Kravtsov will break into the NHL and Mika Zibanejad will finally be named captain prior to next season. The 2020 offseason may not be as star studded as 2019 in terms of players added but I’d imagine the Rangers will look into acquiring a second line LW to replace Chris Kreider at some point. The Rangers will add around the edges but ultimately look for the young players on the roster this year to take big step forwards next year. 2019 was about taking the necessary steps to add future core pieces and grow as an organization. 2020, and into 2021, will be all about returning to the playoffs.