7AM: The Rangers enter Free Agency with $21.8 million in cap space and Igor Shesterkin, Filip Chytil and Libor Hajek as RFAs left to sign.
The Rangers UFAs include Phil Di Giuseppe, Brendan Smith, and Jack Johnson.
Elliotte Friedman wrote over the weekend that his prediction for what happens with Ryan Strome is that he ends up in Seattle, Vegas, or Ottawa. (Sporstnet)
On the NHL Network on Monday, Friedman wondered if the Rangers would be interested in Philipp Danault.
Larry Brooks wondered in the NY Post if the Rangers might want to, in effect, replace Strome with Danault.
Brooks wonders if the Rangers may try to acquire Reilly Smith from Vegas as the Knights are interested in Strome and Smith was a “favorite” of Gerard Gallant. (NY Post)
Friedman notes that the Rangers and Vegas are “there” on Danault.(Sportsnet)
The Rangers and Sabres have reportedly not been close on a potential Jack Eichel trade.
Brooks also mentions Boston winger Nick Ritchie as a potential free agent addition after he wasn’t qualified by the Bruins. (NY Post)
Friedman says that there is a lot of interest around the league in Ritchie. (Sportsnet)
Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko are all eligible for contract extensions today.
The Rangers have had some conversations with Zibanejad about a possible extension.
Adam Rotter: The Rangers will be sitting out the big fish as free agency opens and won’t be anywhere near Dougie Hamilton or Gabriel Landeskog. Danault is certainly someone of interest, but how much of a bidding war are the Rangers will to engage in? Danault reportedly turned down a six-year, $30 million dollar deal from Montreal prior to the season and while he didn’t produce a lot of offense, he was key to Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. He’d be a fit, but everything at center revolves around Mika Zibanejad’s future and/or potentially Jack Eichel. It seems unlikely that either Zibanejad or Eichel will get solved today, but Danault could, and the timing, regardless of what the contract will end up being, may not work out.
With Eichel, it continues to seem less and less likely. The Rangers seem to be holding back their top defensive prospects and young players, though Filip Chytil and/or Vitali Kravtsov might be movable. Buffalo’s preference through most of this process has been to send Eichel out west and Vegas seems like a real option if they can make the money work.
Vegas getting Eichel, though, would likely take them out on Ryan Strome. It seems like the Rangers may trade Strome to get another winger and then they would try and package some combination of Chytil, Kravtsov and some defense prospect to land a long-term option at second line center. The Rangers could just deal Strome and attempt to give with Filip Chytil as second-line center, but that seems unlikely.
Ritchie would be an interesting signing, he’s young, big and would give the Rangers even more edge in the bottom six and likely create a third line of him Barclay Goodrow and Sammy Blais/Morgan Barron, Kevin Rooney/depth players they will likely sign this week. What it also does is pretty much take Filip Chytil out of the lineup, probably Vitali Kravtsov, too and force Alexis Lafreniere or Chris Kreider to the right. Ritchie or not, the Rangers desire to have a defined top-six and defined bottom-six leaves Chytil and Kravtsov as players with a lot of questions surrounding them.
Many around the league believe that the Rangers are planning to include Georgiev in whatever big trade they are trying to make. Georgiev on his own doesn’t seem like he will fetch the high price the Rangers have on him, but he could be a big part of a package that lands a center.
We will see what happens. We know that the Rangers roster is a work in progress and these next few days will likely go a long way in determining how they look in Washington on opening night.