With the Rangers coming up just short in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Blueshirts will be looking to take the next step and win The Stanley Cup. But to get there, the Rangers will go through an offseason with many questions and a tight salary cap budget. General Manager Chris Drury will have tough decisions that could greatly impact their future. According to CapFriendly, the Rangers have just over eleven million dollars of salary cap space with nine forwards, six defensemen, and one goaltender from the active NHL roster this past season. During the 2023-2024 season, the Blueshirts have just 23.6 million dollars in salary cap space according to CapFriendly and that is without including any offseason signings or resignings.
Each player will be broken down into one of three categories: Stay, Go, or Maybe So. Remember this is an opiniated article on what should happen in the offseason and is nothing is guaranteed to happen.
Stay – If they are in this category it means they will be a part of the team next season or that they should be a part of the season. If a player is in this category – the Blueshirts should have them on their opening night roster
Go – If they are in this category it means they won’t or shouldn’t be on the team next season due to performance or the salary cap. If a player is in this categroy – don’t be surprised if they aren’t on the team next season
Maybe So – If they are in this category it means their are a lot of factors that could determine their fate. If a player is in this category – it means their is a world where they are on the team next season and a world where they are no longer a member of the Blueshirts
Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Adam Fox
Stay – The Rangers are locked into these players long-term and they represent the core of the Blueshirts. They aren’t going anywhere and they will all be a member of the Rangers next season
Stay – Rangers just locked up Goodrow into a long-term contract last offseason. Despite not making as much money as some of the names above, Goodrow will be in New York for years to come. In fact, Goodrow needs a bigger role and to be a staple of the third line. Being on the fourth line is a waste of his talents
Maybe so – Had you asked me this question prior to the playoffs, I would have said he should probably go and get a fresh start while the Rangers could clear over two million in cap space. Chytil won me over in the playoffs and I believe he may be ready to take that next step. The only way they may move Chytil is if it is part of a bigger deal to get a second line center. Chytil is one of the Rangers better trading pieces and unfortunately you have to give something to get something
Maybe so – The Blueshirts signed Reaves to a one-year extension after trading for him last offseason. Reaves will likely be on the team next season unless there is a need to clear his cap hit of just under two million. Reaves became popular among Rangers fans and is one of the most likely “Maybe So’s” to return
Stay – Rangers drafted him first overall just two seasons ago. He is cost efficient this season and is expected to be a bigger part of the team moving forward. He isn’t going anywhere this offseason
Stay – Hunt is a depth player making $762,000. He seems to have head coach Gerard Gallant’s trust and the Rangers need cost efficient players like this to help fill out the team
Maybe so – Gauthier has been a depth forward who often finds himself on the outside looking in. If Gauthier would be willing to sign a two-way contract so he can play in the AHL then he should come back. If he wants a one-way contract, then it may be best that the two parties get a fresh start. The Rangers can’t give everyone cheap money because that will start to add up against their cap
Stay – Kakko was selected second overall just three seasons ago and is currently an RFA. Kakko will likely get a similar bridge deal that Chytil received and the Finn will likely play in the top six. Trading him this early would raise real question marks without getting a substantial return
Maybe so – The second line center position is the obvious area of need for the Blueshirts. If the Rangers decided that Copp is the answer then he might be back if the money is right. The Rangers cannot afford to pay Copp and another player to fill that role. Copp is one of the less likely “Maybe So’s” to return.
Go – I love what Strome brought to the Rangers when he was acquired from Edmonton for Ryan Spooner. I wouldn’t mind him staying if the price is right given how well he has meshed in New York. I believe that Strome will command too much money and is looking to cash in on hitting unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career. I don’t think the Rangers aren’t ready to fully commit to him as the long-term solution. In addition, Strome’s departure would open up a spot on the top powerplay unit which would likely go to Lafreniere or Kakko. No matter what happens with Strome, he has been a great addition to the team
Go – Vatrano was brought in at the trade deadline and made the Rangers a deeper team. The Blueshirts simply don’t have the cap space too afford to bring him back
Maybe so – Like Gauthier, McKegg was a depth player and often out of the lineup when fully healthy. McKegg, was also trusted by Gallant and he showed he can be an effective penalty killer. If he can be brought back on a two-way contract then the Rangers should look into it
Go – I can see the Rangers bringing back Rooney on a cheap deal to center the fourth line. I wouldn’t be opposed to this if it were to happen. The only reason I listed him under “Go” is the fact that Rooney finished with a faceoff percentage less than 45. The Blueshirts can find a similar player with a similar price tag that could be better on faceoffs.
Stay – Rangers should do everything they can to keep Motte. Motte is a hard worker and brings some speed to the bottom six. You need cost effective players like Motte on your bottom six to win a championship. You could probably bring Motte back for a couple of years at a cap hit below two million
Stay – The Blueshirts signed him to a one-year extension after missing most of the season after a slew foot from Devils defenseman P.K. Subban. Blais was showing he could be a good depth player for the Rangers prior to getting injured. With signing a one-year deal, Blais will get the opportunity to show why he was traded for
Maybe so – Kravtsov’s relationship with the Rangers has been a roller coaster. He seemed to hate management and held out to go to Russia rather then play in the AHL. Now it seems like they may have mended fences after agreeing to a one year, one way contract for just under a million dollars. Maybe Kravtsov can prove he is NHL ready and willing to play in New York but maybe not. This is an odd scenario where the Blueshirts simply have too many wingers and they can’t all get valuable ice time. Its possible management may look to flip Kravtsov to a team and get a center prospect who has had problems getting into the league. Dallas would be a team to call to see there was any interest. Training camp could ultimately be what determines the Russian’s future
Stay – Lindgren is a very valuable asset to the Blueshirts and he shouldn’t be going anywhere this season. He compliments Fox in so many ways and the duo have formed a solid partnership
Stay – Miller is still on his rookie deal and has proven he is a top four defensemen in this league. He shouldn’t be going anywhere this season. It is important to know that Miller is do for a new deal next offseason which should see him get a handsome raise
Stay – This may not be by choice but Trouba comes with an eight-million-dollar cap hit and has a no-move clause. It is likely nearly impossible to move on from Trouba. While Trouba may not be playing like a top pairing defenseman like he is getting paid to be, he has been a key part for the defensive core and he brings a physical presence to the team. He will remain a Blueshirt going into next season despite having that heavy cap hit
Stay – Schneider is on his rookie deal and has proven he is more than capable then holding his own in the NHL. He will be a vital asset in the team’s future
Go – The Nemeth signing last offseason was puzzling to understand at the time and the fans who were confused have every right to be. The Rangers are in a cap crunch and need to clear his 2.5 million dollars. Nemeth was replaced in the lineup for Justin Braun during the postseason. Nemeth could be a buyout candidate after just one season or the Rangers may need to attach an asset to move him
Go – Braun was a trade deadline rental and a serviceable defenseman. The Rangers don’t have the cap space to afford Braun unless he was willing to place for nothing
Go – Hajek should have been off the team before last season even started. It just simply hasn’t worked out and both parties need a fresh start. Rangers didn’t want to lose him for nothing but if they can get anything for him then they should
Matthew Robertson, Zac Jones, Nils Lundkvist
Maybe So – The Rangers will likely have an opening on their blue line and they could turn to one of their prospects to fill the void. At the same time, the Rangers may opt to trade one because they can’t all play for the Rangers in key minutes. Don’t be surprised if one of them is moved in a bigger deal at some point.
Stay – No Brainer. He is the now and future
Go – Georgiev was a nice fine for the Blueshirts as he was signed after going undrafted. He provided some solid numbers for the Rangers over the course of his career. Georgiev wants to try and be a starter (or at least in a split tandem) and he just won’t get the opportunity in New York. He also will likely cost more than the Rangers can afford for a backup. Unless he was willing to come back on a very cheap deal, he will not be a Ranger next offseason
Stay – Kinkaid has mostly been an AHL goaltender and he has served the team well when called upon in the NHL. Kinkaid is a solid third string goalie and his services should look to be retained.
LETS GO RANGERS