Time to Panic? Not Quite

anthony deangelo

Let’s all take a deep breath. It’s been a big day for the New York Rangers, who traded away a core member of the team in Derek Stepan and their backup goalie Antti Raanta (who could very well be starter material – you can check out my piece on him over at NHLNumbers here) in exchange for Anthony DeAngelo and the 7th overall pick. With that pick they selected Lias Andersson, and later at 21 they took Filip Chytil, both of whom are could play either LW or center according to their profiles at Elite Prospects. There’s still a lot left to this offseason, so it’s not quite time for panic, but there’s a reasonable case to be made that there’s cause for concern.

Let’s start by stating the obvious – the Rangers are a win-now team, because Henrik Lundqvist isn’t getting any younger. Given yesterday’s events, and the loss of Oscar Lindberg to the Vegas Golden Knights, the roster still needs some filling out. As it stands right now, we’re down two centers from where we were at the beginning of this season, when our depth down the middle was one of our obvious strengths. Our defensive group is still a work in progress, and it remains to be seen whether or not we’ll end up signing the coveted Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency. The opening night roster is not quite ready yet.

Along these lines then, it’s a little concerning that the Rangers opted for futures instead of present NHLers, although it remains to be seen whether or not there are more moves to be made (I’ll get to this later). DeAngelo, Andersson, and Chytil are all decent enough, but none of them are the kind of elite, high-ceiling skill the Rangers could have gone for. They’ll help fill out the farm, but none of them are the crown jewel, and that’s concerning given what we gave up to get them.

Starting off with DeAngelo, there’s the obvious concerns about his attitude. With a history of frequent suspensions, slurs directed at teammates, and abuse of officials, it’s hard to be excited about this guy replacing a person as good as Derek Stepan. Sure, he’s got upside as a puck moving defenseman who can work a powerplay, but his defense allegedly needs some work, so it’s not as though we got a perfectly well-rounded prospect. He’ll be a work in progress, on and off the ice, hopefully ditching the blatant and unacceptable homophobia and tightening up his defensive acumen. The bottom line is this: we’ll see.

Next let’s move on to Andersson. The Rangers had the opportunity to take someone like Gabe Vilardi, a high upside center who was compared to John Tavares and Anze Kopitar during the NHL’s broadcast of the draft. Instead they went for someone who’s more or less a safe pick – responsible defensively and able to do it all, but with a projected middle six ceiling. That’s not exactly thrilling, considering we gave up a consistent, talented, and dedicated center in Derek Stepan to get that pick.

Next up we’ve got Chytil, who I’ll admit I know even less about than Andersson. According to our very own Josh Khalfin, he’s a young, speedy player who’ll have plenty of room to grow and develop, given that he’s only 17. The NHL’s broadcast compared him to Ondrej Palat, and he himself likens his game to Auston Matthews (we’ll see about that), but although he’s got a lot of time to develop that’s exactly it: he’s going to need some time and Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t exactly have time.

So while it’s not quite time to panic, there’s valid room for concern. The Rangers’ direct rivals all got better this week – with the Devils drafting Nico Hischier first overall, Philly taking Nolan Patrick at number two, and the Islanders stealing Jordan Eberle from the Oilers in exchange for a guy who’s yet to hit 20 goals in his career. Couple that with Pittsburgh’s perennial contender status and CBJ’s acquisition of Artemi Panarin, and the Metro just got a whole lot scarier. Did the Rangers make similar strides? Well, not exactly.

I’ll say this though, I still have some faith that Gorton knows what he’s doing. It’s also important to note that with today’s trade, the Rangers opened up around $20-$23 million in cap space (depending on if Klein does in fact retire). Hopefully that means there’s something more coming, but at the very least it means we can expect Smith and Zibanejad re-signed to long-term deals (Zibanejad longer than Smith of course) in addition to the run at Shattenkirk that’s likely coming. Furthermore the Rangers have long been rumored to desire Jumbo Joe Thornton, who could potentially be had in free agency for a reasonable sum and would fill a hole at center. Couple that with the fact that Gordie Clark typically has his act together with regard to drafting and developing, and all of the concerns listed above become well, just concerns.

The Rangers have a lot of work to do to improve on where they were last year, and while yesterday wasn’t a ringing endorsement of this front office’s process, it also wasn’t entirely damning either. We’ll just have to wait and see, but my guess is the Rangers aren’t done yet. It’s perfectly fair to be concerned, but the bottom line is that we simply don’t know yet what the rest of the summer holds. Whether or not you want to panic depends on how much faith you have in the way Gorton and co. will handle July and August, but for right now, let’s wait and see.

Show More


  1. Signing Shattenkirk would make this whole off season a loss. Getting rid of one bad defenseman’s contract for another bad contract would be a huge mistake. Also we just rid ourselves of an overpaid fwd, I don’t want to add an overpaid, overrated d-man. Just sign Smith and let someone else be saddled with Shattenkirk.

  2. From these moves, this team is most definitely not in “win now” mode. They ain’t blowing it up, but they are aggressive in getting younger cheaper and blowing out cap space.

    I already have an inkling where they’re going, but no one really knows until July 1. Shatty aside, there’s no three players out there that’s worth eating up the cap space they have available. And Shatty doesn’t move the needle. But by 4th of July the plan will be rather obvious.

    What I would do for next season? Extend Hayes, Miller & Skjei July 1 until age 29 at front loaded below market value AAV, then deploy them like they should’ve been used last season. Comically overpay Hanzal on a 1yr deal as a 3rd C. Resign Smith.

  3. With $23M in cap space, if you all think this is “it” you’re very much mistaken.

    While the Rangers did not get the “bonafide top pair D man” I thought they would for Stepan, DeAngelo is a tremendous talented right handed D man. A tremendous skater and puck mover, something that Gorton craves for the Rangers. And he’s only 21. He has a little bit of snarl which will not hurt and I think he relishes this chance with the Rangers, being from NJ.

    With Shatty coming, the top 4 are now McD, Shatty, Skjei, and DeAngelo, as opposed to McD, G, Staal, and Holden. Are you efn kidding me? lol.

    More trades and FA moves to come. At this point giving Smith $4M+ per would be a disaster. Stay the course Jeff.

    The picks are too soon to tell obviously, so we’ll see. But expressing an opinion now on this trade and the offseason is very premature. Wait to see what the team looks like when finished, because there are evidently lots of trade opportunities out there. I trust Gorton.

    1. If they already have a puck moving D man who can be PP1, why would the Rangers need Shattenkirk?

      How many D can AV bury?

      Speaking of AV, how about that draft interview? He came across as the stitches where he had his nuts cut off haven’t really knitted. At least Tippett was man enough to say the Hell with it.

      And speaking of Tip, I hope Gorton has him on speed dial.

      1. Because this NHL demands that you have a puck moving back end. I mean:

        Even Holden-Pionk

        is a wet dream in comparison to what we had. And who’s to say that another move isn’t made here? Like signing a Franson or someone like that to play 2nd pair? I don’t want Smith at over $4M per, even though I like him.

        Now, of course there is more work to be done, as the center position needs to be upgraded. But having back end that can actually get the Rangers out of their own end quickly and efficiently, already makes the Ranger forwards a much better group in itself.

          1. Pionk is a righty with a booming shot but I think that all 3, meaning Graves, Brez, and Pionk will have a good chance to make the team. This team is going younger and more mobile for the back end.

    2. Well said and by the way all teams in the Metro did not get better Panarin for Saad is a wash, I would frankly take the Chicago side of that trade. Does anyone think Washington got better over the last week? For a Cap team like NYR cap space is, if not the most then the second most valuable asset. They now have some long term relief. I’d be careful on Shatty but go get Smith.

      1. Believe it or not, and this is my opinion, Shatty at $6M per is more valuable than Smith at $4m or $4.5M per. And I like Smith a lot. If he signed for let’s say 4-5 years at $3.5M per then I say “do it.” But he will get a lot more in a very thin D man FA market.

        $23M in cap space. When have the Rangers ever had that? lol. Gorton has other things lined up and getting cap space was a necessity. But in any case, criticize when the offseason is over, not now.

        1. Disagree with both points Richter…..
          First, Smith played very well for us in the playoffs and was our toughest and most physical defenseman in moving players from the crease!!! We must resign him and at 4 mil. its reasonable….
          Shattenkirk, is better offensively but not as physical and during the playoffs physicality is a necessity! Too Many goals are scored by opposing players crashing the net….

          1. Smith was good, but, Richter is correct in that the differential in scoring (10-15 pts max versus 50+, potentially) will have far more of an effect on the team overall than Smith’s increased defensive capabilities, despite the higher cap hit.

            Also, as Richter has pointed out before, Shatty is particularly known for making a PP better, which would be a point worth elaborating on if the ‘Yandle Incident’ never occurred.

            That being said, while Shatty would be the better player to sign, he won’t if coach Douchie Leroux insists upon only tossing him out there 13 minutes a night.

          2. Dog,
            Cant argue point differential, but what concerns me is that in the playoffs so many goals are scored because opposing players set up camp in front of the goalies and the ability to move them out becomes tremendously important . How many deflection were scored as opposed to set or pass plays in the playoffs…..thats when a Smith becomes more valuable…..I would take him at 3.5-4 rather than shatty at 6.5…..

          3. Hey Rich, read your comments.

            I love Smith, I thought he played great in the playoffs, and you cannot dismiss his ability to clear the crease or make plays under pressure, just great.

            But the point you’re missing is that if the back end is more mobile then the Rangers will possess the puck a lot more, lessening the need to have a D man like Smith. It’s cause and effect so to speak.

            Plus, you just created valuable cap space, why sign a D man to over $4M per that will not score 40 pts? I would rather give Franson $2M and call it a day.

          4. AV doesn’t want mobile defencemen, he wants D who can make the quick pass out. So why waste $6mm on something by he don’t want?

            On the other hand, considering how hard AV got punked out this weekend, the D philosophy could drastically change this year.

          5. I would say that Gorton is in charge my friend. And that extension AV just signed? Doesn’t mean a dam thing, as Lindy is now looking over AV’s shoulder.

            So, in effect, AV needs to do what he needs to do to save his own job right now, and that means win playoff series (plural), not meaningless regular season games.

  4. Panic, never!!!!!! Rebuild on the fly is more like it, so let’s just wait and see what the hell happens. Our defense is being addressed, and getting faster, and younger. If Kevin Klein retires, we have players in place already signed with the Russian kid, and the kid out of Minnesota fighting for a job. I see the defense being improved big time this off season, and given the way we played with three very slow guys back there, this is a vast improvement. And to top things off, there is still the month of July to make additional moves. This is great, panic, no way Jose!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I love your optimism Walt, but, unless Hayes & Mika step up big time next year, I don’t know who is replacing Daisy’s 55ish points.

      Nor, supposing they take a leap forward, have we done anything to replace the 3C hole one of them will leave. And, given that last year’s 3C was Hayes & his 49 points… well… maybe now you see why I suggested (what’s left of) Thornton for a year.

      We’re screwed because this opens up a giant short term hole. Hopefully they have plans to fill it.

  5. I honestly think it’s funny that people declare a draft pick a bust within 30 minutes of that pick being made.

    1. Right Spozo, first of all like we all know the player, which we don’t, and there was a 7th rounder that will be a HOFamer, I forget his name and the team he plays for.

      Not all top picks pan out and not all bottom picks are AHL fodder to fill out organizational rosters.

  6. You don’t ruin the franchise because Hank is in ‘win now’ mode. Gorton is doing exactly what he needs to do in a re-tool on the fly effort. Is there risk? Sure. But there was risk the other way too (Step was maxed, leadership core was growing stale). He took the safe pick who could replace Stepan in the lineup next year (highly optimistic) or the year after. Oh, and all that cap space. Gorton’s not done.

    1. Yeah all the nice things that his teammates said about him make for the stale leadership comment. Lol 180 difference on how Girardi went out and even during last summer when Brass got traded.

  7. “Lets wait and see.” I’m going out on a limb and predicting people will not take that advice.

  8. Some thoughts on the draft:

    * drafting Chytil at 21 is the consequence of not having a pick in the 2nd or 3rd, shame they didn’t try to make a deal for a 2nd as he could have been had later potentially

    * that they didn’t trade for another pick tells me we probably won’t draft again until the 4th round today, who else can we move for picks?

    * the Anderson pick i’m not so bothered by, seems like many of the higher ceiling guys also had higher bust capability, especially due to weak skating, we all know how weak skaters perform in this league

    * it was really nice to be able to pay close attention on day one of the draft, hopefully more exciting you players (especially some d-men) picked today, LGR!!

  9. no need to panic until late September. But the cap space is huge and the culture is changing with the Girardi buyout and moving Stepan. I think we fans may want to take a step back and ask are we in win now mode anymore. And I think the answer is sort of to not so much. As good as we have been there’s always been some teams who were just better. But moving out cap space and opening up spots on the rooster has been needed. Can’t judge the draft picks today although I would have liked to see them take a D man with 1 of the 2 picks. Whoever they sign in Free agency let’s hope they don’t give NMC’s and NTC’s in these deals. Bad enough to overpay for too long, worse to not be able to move them if you want to.

  10. Would have liked to see the rangers package both our #1 picks prior to the draft and move them to either colorado or arizona for their next years #1 pick……I expect these two teams to be in the running for last place and maybe next years draft contains a big time prospect…..

    1. Good thoughts Rich S, what do you think?? about Pittsburgh trading for Ryan Reeves. Toughness down not matter anymore, yeah right!!

      1. Bobby B,
        I saw that and now expect Crosby to give even more cheap shots to guys and play dirtier! It SHOWS HOW IMPORTANT a winning organization thinks of the value of tough , physical players!
        I want to hear what Gorton thinks……
        Reaves may be the top ‘tough guy’ right now..
        Time to reacquire the UNDERTAKER !!!!….and a Tom Wilson/Matt Martin type winger!

      2. And I heard Viktor Stallberg is a free agent, not a fighter but hits a ton, I would love to see him back! Along with an Evander Kane we would have a tough enough team that wont be pushed around in the playoffs……..Smith, Kane, McIlrath…………

        1. Rich S, you have my vote for assistant GM. Tell Jeff Gorton to follow your lead, also if team gets off to a slow start give AV his walking papers, hire Dave Tippet.

          1. Bobby B,
            Manson, Manson , Manson……want him too……Give me Smith and Manson combined salary of 7 mil? rather than Shattenkirk at 6.5!
            We wont get pushed around in the playoffs!

          2. Rich, point Gorton in the right direction, get Josh Manson & Brendan Smith on the D in NYR Jersey’s. ( with Lindy Ruff pointing the way) Get Evander Kane & Miles Woods up front.

        2. Hard pass on Evander Kane. He’s gonna cost us too much to get, and he isn’t really that good. Takes far too many penalties for my liking.

          What we need, is tough players who are still good at hockey. That’s why I like Smith on the blue line.

          1. I don’t know if it’s a talent thing with him so much as it is an attitude problem. People see 30 goals as a rookie & lose sight of everything else.

            I would be reluctant to take him if BUF was SENDING a pick.

  11. This reminds me of the Yankees at the trade deadline last summer. Changing the core of the team over, getting younger and still being competitive within a span of a few days.

    I hope the media has us last in all their preseason rankings. Look what we did this year. And I gotta feeling we will be more talented come September after free agency. We’re not gonna have $23 mill in cap space this Fall, that’s absurd.

    Gorton knows what he’s doing, and he knows how the league has changed. I’ve got faith in him. It was a weak draft overall, no matter who you take, there’s going to be risks without that high end talent at the top of the board.

    Also, I’ve been going to one or two Wolfpack games a year the last few years (and trying to follow the team here and there) and that team needs a major overhaul. And I think JG is slowly restocking the cupboard. LGR!

  12. I think a lot of this boils down to two separate thoughts that got combined into one by many.

    Picks = good picks
    Asset Management = a concern

    Andersson will be an NHLer. Chytil has a high ceiling, but may not make it. Both are teenagers playing in men’s elite leagues. That bodes well.

    But the asset management is a bit of a concern, and has been for a while. Yandle, Eric Staal, Stepan, Raanta. There’s legitimate concern.

    Gordie Clark has earned the trust. So I trust the picks. But I do not trust the team process, which is a Jeff Gorton thing. Takes a while to earn that trust.

    As long as we can separate the two, I think the discussion can move forward logically and peacefully.

    1. As for asset management, a lot of that has to do with the current coach not utilizing said assets properly.

    2. Dave, how can you assess asset management when the roster is not nearly complete? People making assessments based on this one trade is being short sighted. A lot more to do but the cap space is now available.

      1. Hmm — traded a below average #1center for the chance to draft the next Jesper Fast — and traded a superb low price backup goalie for the worst player on the worst team in the league.

        Three years from now, Jeff Gorton will not be the Ranger GM — and June 23, 2017 is the reason.

        If DeAngelo plays top four, the Ranger defense will make this past season look like a dream.

        1. LOL, that’s a little hyperbole, no? Let’s wait to see what the team looks like for the season opener before we jump off ledges?

          If Gorton overplayed his hand then I will agree with you.

        2. D’Angelo at worst is late era Girardi with + offense & puck skills.

          D’Angelo reminds me of plenty of guidos from Jersey, smack talking jerks when in a group who cry for their momma when you get them trapped alone in a corner.

        3. Fast in his draft year played 2 games for the same club as Andersson, had a goose egg score line. Andersson played 22 games the year before.

  13. History will repeat and Gorton will load up on free agents going into training camp. Some players will be duds but others could turn out to be another Grabner. Should be an interesting summer.

  14. Time to understand that the NYR world does not begin or end with Lundquist. Like DG, he has been good, but he is not unique. Lets’ forget about “the window” and just use good hockey judgment to rebuild this team which still has a pretty fair core.

    1. I see a comment like this and I question what you have been watching for the past 13 years or if you’re even a Ranger fan at all.

  15. The past couple of years Hank has gone down to injuries for a number of games and our backup goalies have stepped in and played fantastic. Hank is no younger and the exit of Raanta (who most have convinced themselves is no big deal) is to me, a big hit. He was great in Hanks extended absence and I am concerned about what is out there to replace him. I realize we have some good young goalies in the system, but they are not yet ready. He will become a star, starting for the Coyotes, mark my words. We might have been better off trading an ageing Hank and his extravagant salary if possible and keeping Raanta as our starter.

    1. Not worried about backup goalie. We have the goalie whisperer, Benoit Allaire, who turned Talbot and now Raanta into starters. I have faith in him to find our next backup project.

      1. The thing that concerns me, is that if Hank goes down again, we need more then just a throw in backup. I believe as was proven last year, Raanta was more then a backup. There was a time when he was being considered the number one goalie in NY by many over Hank, before Hank bounced back. But overall, Hank had a inconsistant subpar year. In Raanta’s long period of filling in, he was great . I liked his play, very steady and consistent. They will need someone very good to replace him regardless of Allaires training skills. With Hank a year older and Raanta gone, our strength in goal has suddenly been diminished quit a bit.

    2. how dare you say trade the King (of nothing ) !!

  16. Granted, I know nothing of the 2 draft picks, but when I read 3-4 different sources saying they’re both a reach, that’s disconcerting.

    Right away, I’m thinking Pavel Brendl and Hugh Jessiman again, and although I like him, Dylan Mcilrath.

    Could they not have traded down and grab a 2nd or 3rd rounder to boot? Rangers being the Rangers, we’ll be lamenting passing on Vilardi probably for years to come.

  17. Gorton tried to get a top defenseman for Stepan. He talked and talked and talked. But the market never developed for this estimable veteran who was at the heart of the team’s considerable success over the past six seasons. The combination of the center’s $6.5 million cap hit for another four seasons plus the no-trade clause that would have kicked in July 1 created a buzz-saw effect that left Gorton with what became no choice other than to take the lone legitimate offer that came his way, even if it also cost Antti Raanta.

    This from Brooks’ article this morning, which I found to be very funny due to all the hype about the return Daisy would give us. Read and weep, I said the guy wasn’t worth much, and so did the rest of the GM’s in the NHL. I’m just glad he is history………..

    1. “This from Brooks’ article this morning, which I found to be very funny due to all the hype about the return Daisy would give us. Read and weep, I said the guy wasn’t worth much, and so did the rest of the GM’s in the NHL. I’m just glad he is history………..”


      Despite who they picked, the #7 pick & the RHD aren’t a bad haul.

      I know people say ‘but raaaanta!’, but you need to remember – he was exposed, and VGK took Lindberg over him. And if Lindberg sure wasn’t worth even a late first rounder by himself, then how can we reasonably say Raanta was?

      Do you not realize that implies that VGK did not put forth their due dilligence on the potential markets for flipping their NYR draft choice (which couldn’t be further from the truth)?

      1. It has become evident that Brooks is no longer in the loop or on the inside. Stating that the Rangers should not use the available cap space for Shatty, who is exactly what they need, is lunacy.

        Now you can question whether the contract will be worth it, but for right now, the Rangers are going for it and Shatty is a vital piece towards competing for a Cup next season.

    2. lets see … he cant skate for S%&T , cant win a faceoff , missed all kinds or reads and assignments during the playoffs , not a #1 center , he was put into that role …. cant bitch about Raanta , nobody on here said he was worth a damn,had no playoff experience blah blah blah blah .. blah blah

  18. Only gonna panic if they waste the extra cap room they just got lucky to get rid of by signing shittenkirk for some ridiculous contract …. we had Yandle … think the cats want him gone since they gave him sone stpid amount of money …. sign smith and see what else pops around , hopefully some sucker will take Staal!!

  19. I am not panicking at all. I don’t believe in quick fixes. I don’t believe we must get Joe Thornton and waste a roster spot on a great player whose knees are shot and who at 37 will only deteriorate further. I like getting DeAngelo because he has great skills and attitude can be adjuster. He is only 21. I like freeing up all that cap space. Get YOUNG people. mix them in with the young people they already have and build a dynasty. Do not succumb to the we need to win now baloney. It is self-defeating.

      1. Without a doubt, Edmonton and Toronto are testaments to that. But they each have a young franchise player for the ages.

        If they win with young people, cool. My point is that I am content to watch young players learn if they have the talent to become very good and am willing to accept losing if the promise of being really good is apparent down the road.

    1. got no choice … Hanks biological clock is ticking and we’re running out of time so he can win a Cup and blow another 8.5 mil

  20. Kreider Thorton Nash
    Vesey Zibanejad Zuccarello
    Buchnevich Hayes Miller
    Grabner Andersson Fast

    McDonagh Shattenkirk
    Skjei Smith
    Staal DeAngelo


    Would make some sense to me

    1. I don’t think Thornton would come east, but how about signing Sam Gagner for the 3rd line and Hanzal for the 4th?

    1. Or for my golf game: “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.” lol

Back to top button
Skip to toolbar