This week, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said some pretty bold statements about his team’s offseason. He mentioned that there were “no untouchables” on the Rangers roster and that they are looking to bring in “new blood and new energy to the team.” With some major off-season moves looming for the New York Rangers, here is a small list of a few players that should be moved and who should stay this coming offseason.
This is a move that, depending on the return, could really help the team. Brassard is coming off a career high in goals (27) and two consecutive 55+ point seasons. Trading Brassard could be a risky move however because it would leave the Rangers with one returning center, Derek Stepan. The Rangers would have to make sure to lock down one of the centers from free agency which shouldn’t be too hard considering the depth. If the Rangers can trade Brassard for someone with NHL capabilities, and can sign someone like Sam Gagner or David Backes, the Rangers could easily find themselves in a better situation than this season. Bringing in someone who is already NHL ready would also allow younger centers like Adam Tambellini to develop more before making an NHL debut.
Dan Girardi is an interesting player if he were to be moved. He’s never been an offensive defenseman which are desired by any team in the NHL, and he is 32 years old with a $5.5 million/season cap hit. He has also suffered from injury problems that Alain Vigneault even commented on during this interview. However, he is coming off of his best two seasons in terms of +/- and finished 24th in the league in that category this season. Like Brassard, trading Girardi could be beneficial if the Rangers can sign a defenseman in free agency to go along with the trade assets they acquire. Finding that right defenseman may be difficult however because the pool on talent isn’t as high as forwards. Some names however, still stick out like Alex Goligoski and Nikita Nikitin.
While J.T. Miller may bring in some of the best talent in a trade, J.T. Miller has proven that he can play in the NHL. He is coming off a 40 point season on the Rangers 2nd line and will only improve as he is only 23 years old. If he can improve his face-off skills to win above 50%, he can easily replace Derek Stepan for the 1st line center and move Stepan to the wing. Miller also accounted for 11 powerplay points this season out of a total of 42 goals which could help the Rangers finally move into the league’s top scoring powerplays.
Kreider is another Rangers that could potentially bring in the best talent but is not worth the risk. He has already proven to be one of the best wingers on the team and has consistently scored about 40 points per season, including 20 goals per season. He can also help develop some of the Rangers new talent that will be coming up in the next few seasons. Pavel Buchnevich, Adam Tambellini, and Ryan Gropp all play similarly to Chris Kreider as power forwards that are quick on their feet. Despite only being 25, Kreider has learned a lot about the ins-and-outs of the league and he can really help get these young rookies on track when they do make their league debut. He is also one of the only players on the team that speaks Russian which can help Buchnevich really transition well into the NHL from Russia. This is a fact that goes unnoticed most of the time but it is important. Pavel Datsyuk started the same way 15 years ago when he came directly from Russia and had Sergei Federov and Igor Larionov help him assimilate.