When it comes to a rebuild, there seem to be two approaches. The first is the complete tear down and build through the draft and trades. The second is leveraging current assets and bringing in new faces to help be the complement to what already exists. The latter, at least from what I’ve seen, rarely works. The former does work, but not all the time. Indeed, there is an element of luck involved with every rebuild.
The Rangers, though, appear to be merging the two strategies. After selling off many assets at the deadline, they acquired a bunch of picks and prospects that will help them in the long haul of a rebuild. Three first round picks, several high floor prospects, and promotion of existing prospects are the building blocks of a competitor.
However the Rangers also acquired a pair of mid-20’s players in Ryan Spooner and Vlad Namestnikov. Both are solid players who can be great pieces for a competing team. Couple that with a potentially elite Pavel Buchnevich and Filip Chytil, and another high floor player in Lias Andersson, and the forward group –believe it or not– doesn’t need too much tinkering.
The rebuild is really on the blue line, in the coaching staff, and in development of young players. Right now Brady Skjei is the top guy on the blue line. Unless the Rangers get Rasmus Dahlin, they won’t have an elite player on the blue line. That part will take time.
Which brings me to leveraging current assets and bringing in new faces. With oodles of cap space, the Rangers are always primed to make a run at someone like John Tavares, filling that true elite 1C need. Players like him don’t come around that often. With Erik Karlsson available –and possibly cheaper than he should be if Bobby Ryan needs to be packaged with him– there are two game changers that can turn the Rangers around quickly.
That however, is a dangerous game to play. Can you find a coach that can both develop young kids and compete in the same breath? Can the Rangers both find time for youngsters and lean on high priced free agents/trades? It’s a dangerous gamble, since so many things need to go right so quickly.
Personally, I avoid Karlsson like the plague. It’s not the right fit at the moment. If there’s a big splash to be made, someone like Dougie Hamilton in Calgary would be my target. Tavares I’m on the fence about, because it’s rare someone like him becomes available.
Naturally this is all conjecture, as any plan can change if the Rangers land Dahlin at the draft. We likely won’t get any idea of their plans until then. April 28 is one week away, and at that point we may have a clearer guess as to where the Rangers are headed in their offseason strategy."The fear of a "quick turnaround"",