Wednesday night the Tampa Bay Lightning took home their second consecutive Stanley Cup. This means that the NHL offseason has officially begun. This offseason has all the makings to be a wild one. We are just 12 days from the Seattle Expansion Draft, 14 days from the NHL Entry Draft, and 19 days from the start of free agency. The next 19 days are going to be wild. There have already been some stars that have requested trades and others that are on the trade block. What does this all mean for the New York Rangers?
Stars on the move
Already there are some big names included in the NHL rumor mill. Two stars that have already requested trades are Jack Eichel and Vladimir Tarasenko. Rangers fans are well aware of Eichel wanting out of Buffalo and have been tied to the Rangers since the last offseason. The big question surrounding Eichel is his neck and how healthy he is. I just had former NHL General Manager and hockey insider Gord Stellick on my podcast, The Broadway Hat Podcast, this past week and he said if he was the Rangers GM he would take a swing at Eichel and give that a good look. Here is a quick clip from the episode with him talking about going after Eichel.
Awesome clip from this weeks episode with @FAN590 and @Sportsnet hockey insider @GordStellick. What do @NYRangers fans think? Gord thinks they have to take a swing at Jack Eichel? Listen to the full interview with Gord here: https://t.co/q55MB13oKs #NYR #NHL #StanleyCup #MTLvsTBL pic.twitter.com/jt0UIBbSw4— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 7, 2021
Tarasenko also has been battling an injury and requested a trade after he felt the Blues mishandled his shoulder injury. While Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic listed the Rangers as a possible destination for him I think he would fit better with their rivals on Long Island.
A few other big names that have been thrown into the NHL rumor mill are Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Duncan Keith, Seth Jones, Matthew Tkachuk, and Robin Lehner. That is a lot of star power that can be moved. The Rangers have been linked to Ekman-Larsson and Tkachuk but I think both are long shots. Personally, I do think with the flat cap and owners losing money because of Covid-19 there will be big names on the move with teams wanting to shed cap. Stellick agreed with me on that as well during our conversation.
.@GordStellick and I both agree and think there will be some big names moved this offseason. Already Eichel,Tarasenko, Jones, OEL, Hamilton are just a few big names out there. Let us know in the comments what other stars get traded #NYR #NHL #HockeyTwitterhttps://t.co/q55MB13oKs pic.twitter.com/10MDobqMEG— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) July 8, 2021
Check out my full interview with Gord and hear his insight on what this offseason might bring.
Will Seattle have the same impact Vegas had on the league? Will teams make big moves before the draft? I think these next 12 days leading up to the draft will be very interesting. The Rangers are a team that has cap space so could they use that to take advantage of a team that doesn’t? The Rangers might have tipped their hand as to who they are planning to expose today when they resigned Brett Howden to a one-year extension which will make him eligible for the draft. I think there will be similar extensions with Libor Hajek and Julien Gauthier signed in the next few days. With the Rangers exposing those two forwards they can protect Colin Blackwell who had a breakout season for the Rangers this year.
Just two days after Seattle’s draft the 2021 Entry Draft will take place. The Rangers have the 15th overall pick and 9 selections in this years draft (15,64,79,103,105,111,143,175,207). The biggest question is if the Rangers actually make a selection at 15 or if they trade it away. Here are a few names to keep an eye on if the Rangers do make a selection at 15: Cole Sillinger, Aatu Raty, Mason McTavish, Chaz Lucius, Francesco Pinelli, and Xavier Bourgault.
NHL Free Agency
July 28th kick starts free agency. Some big names will be available on the open market such as Alex Ovechkin, Dougie Hamilton, Taylor Hall, Gabriel Landeskog, and Tyson Barrie. I don’t think the “Great Eight” leaves Washington but the other four could all be changing addresses. The Rangers have been tied to Landeskog who can play both Center and Wing. He also brings leadership to a lineup after serving as the Avalanche’s captain the past nine seasons. Some other free agents that have been tied to the Rangers are Zach Hyman, Phillip Danault, Blake Coleman, and Casey Cizikas. The Rangers have the cap space this summer to make a few moves so don’t be surprised to see one of these guys playing on Broadway next season.
The next 19 days are going to be wild. Three big events all within 9 days of each other. The Rangers should be very active as new GM/President Chris Drury looks to build a contender for next season. The Rangers owner James Dolan made it clear with the firings of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton he wanted to speed up the rebuild. This summer will set the tone for the next few seasons depending on what moves Drury makes. No matter what it is an exciting time to be a Rangers fan!
Be sure to bookmark our hockey page for hockey coverage and follow Belly Up Hockey on Twitter: @BellyUpHockey. Follow me on Twitter for more takes on the New York Rangers and USA Hockey: @KHallNY. You can also listen to my NY Rangers podcast The Broadway Hat Podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify for Rangers news and interviews with past and current players.