Heading into the offseason, the Rangers were rumored to be heavily invested in a roster shake up, one that saw them fielding offers on everyone on the roster except for Henrik Lundqvist. They were rumored to be going after the fourth overall pick (Edmonton) and/or the 15th overall pick (Minnesota) in an attempt to re-stock the farm system.
Instead, we are left with two bargain bin free agent signings in Michael Grabner and Nathan Gerbe, and one minor trade for Nick Holden. The club has the exact same blue line, just with Holden/Brady Skjei replacing Keith Yandle/Dan Boyle. Grabner and Gerbe replace Viktor Stalberg and Dominic Moore.
So what happened?
While there is still plenty of summer left –remember that the Rick Nash trade was made in late July– the Rangers appear to have been unimpressed with offers received. We have no idea what was offered for anyone, except for the rumored Derek Stepan for Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin and the 15th pick. If the Rangers were in on the fourth overall pick, the only player that can fetch that from Edmonton is Ryan McDonagh. That’s not confirmed, it’s just me thinking out loud, and it makes sense.
Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are still Rangers, for better or for worse. There is another buyout period that will open in August for the Rangers, since they had at least two players file for arbitration. It’s unlikely one is bought out, so expect them both to be on the roster next season.
Tanner Glass is still on the roster for now. It’s a possibility he will be with Hartford next year, the way he started this past season. But for now, it’s safe to assume he will be in the opening day lineup.
Is it a matter of the Rangers not getting any offers for their three anchors? It’s certainly possible. There are fewer and fewer teams that ignore analytics, and the longer the Rangers hold on to these contracts, the worse off they are.
But here’s a scenario: Maybe the Rangers didn’t get any offers they liked because they want a return valuing something a top-four defender can give them. Something in which Staal and Girardi cannot get anymore with those contracts. If this is the case, then the club may have missed the boat on the real value: Dumping the bad contracts.
Or perhaps there is still something brewing. There are plenty of teams who are looking to make moves. Cam Fowler looks to be out in Anaheim, although I hope the Rangers avoid him like the plague. Dallas voluntarily traded for Kris Russell, so there’s a start. Calgary and Edmonton make weird moves. So does Boston.
It’s odd to see the Rangers so quiet this offseason. It’s even more perplexing when you consider the rumors that they wanted to gut the team. Perhaps there is more to come. Or perhaps, on the frightening end of things, they got cold feet and want to give this group another “one last kick at the can.” This offseason has been oddly quiet. Too quiet.