A Rebuild Realized

Roughly three weeks ago, the Rangers traded for Adam Fox. Two weeks ago they acquired Jacob Trouba. A week later they selected Kaapo Kakko at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. And earlier this week they signed Artemi Panarin to a massive free agent contract, giving them a true superstar player for the first time in roughly a decade. It’s a rebuild realized for the New York Rangers, after a deep and anxious period that begun with Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton putting Brendan Smith on waivers and issued a letter to the fans regarding their future-oriented outlook.

I’ve written before about that specific kind of anxiety, trading memories we already have and the comfort of familiar failure for some day that might never come. It’s tough, and I’m sure we ll felt it as this rebuild started. Still, we’re here now, and there’s plenty to look forward too.

We’ve got line combos to fall in love with anew, first career OT winners to lose our minds over, and roller-coaster playoff runs to go on. It’s an exciting time, and a big relief. The buzz in the Garden on October 3rd is going to be a special thing, the kind of electricity the Rangers haven’t really felt in the modern era.

There is of course plenty of uncertainty. There’s work to do as far as clearing out salary and roster spots, and although Jeff Gorton and John Davidson have done good work thus far, there’s no guarantees it’ll happen, at least not the way we might hope. Injuries, unreached potential, all kinds of roadblocks loom large, and that’s tough too. It might not be next season (I still think it could be, even if it’s no especially likely), or even the season after that. In other words, there’s reason for apprehension or malaise.

Still, we’ve got a new-look New York Rangers, a high-quality squad. Every team has bad players, and often that’s a matter of a coach being able to deploy them. Coaching too is going to help guys play up to their highest capacities, and make sure the culture (yes, it matters) pushes the players forward in the right direction. David Quinn, at least thus far, has shown himself up to the task. That’s encouraging, and alleviates some of the residual queasiness.

And here’s the thing too: we’ve got one guy who can help push us that extra little bit, one guy whose talent puts him in the top 3 all-time shortlist of players on this team. He’s a familiar face, the familiar face, and although it might be upsetting not seeing Cally, Dubi, Zucc, or Stepn make it up to the summit, we all, above all, want to see Henrik Lundqvist win it all. He’s still very much around, in our lives and in this locker room, and every player who puts on a blue sweater next for the first time next season knows he’s the franchise. They know there’s only one thing left to do: go get him his Stanley Cup.

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  • Still have to fix the D

    Still have the forward depth chart to clean up.

    Headed in the right direction, but these are the first couple of steps in the journey.

    • yeah, it’s not a perfect roster for sure, but look at the upgrade in skill level: Panarin, Kakko, Krav, Shesty, Trouba, Fox, and even Rykov, all will make the Rangers a much better team than last year (which is a low bar of course).

      Staal is a given, but the rest, Skjei, Trouba, Hajek, Fox, DeAngelo, Rykov, is a pretty good group. Shatty may be retained, we’ll see. But I see more trades coming.

      • That’s where the big money is earned by Gorton.

        Some people here thinks Namestnikov has value(and he might) but just not at that cost.

        Same goes for Shatty.

        So that’s 2 retained deals potentially, which is manageable and should clear enough to bring the RFAs in, then you get to play FMK all over again.

        No need to panic now, plenty of time to panic later.

        • I like the idea of putting Namestnikov at 2C between Kravsov and Buchnevich, and putting Chytl at 3C between Lemieux and Kakko, but only until Chytl is ready to move to 2C. When this happens, trade Namestnikov.

        • Teams are still looking for FAs and then have to sign RFAs. Once all the teams know where they stand, cap space wise, then the trades will start.

          The value for the Rangers to be traded is not the return, but the cap relief received, to sign Trouba, CK, and the RFAs.

      • In my opinion, the D is still a concern, but I have all the confidence in JG and JD……..The future looks great…..and I stress the future as we have many kids still years away…..2-3 years….we are building a Ranger foundation from top to bottom….Our farms will have plenty of crops, not barren…

        • “In my opinion, the D is still a concern”

          Have some milk and cookies, you’ll feel better.

        • Agreed. Like DQ said, it’s still a “build”. Gotta be excited for the kids in the pipeline (who are not expected to show up for another year or two) too…we’ve done a good job building that up, too. Can’t wait for October 3, man.

    • I haven’t been this excited over a group of young Rangers since Amonte, Weight and Rice (remember him?). A reminder that not all the youth will pan out, and not all of them will peak here in NY. That being said, much hinges on how management deals with our 3 young centers. I hope Chytl rises to be a legit. #1b – 2 center, and one of Howden and Andersen becomes a strong #3 center. Do Stome and Names stay? It should be interesting as summer moves on and the season begins.

    • The D is still in flux…I had to calm down several of my Ranger buddies, who are thinking parade for the upcoming season…..Still plenty of work to be done…and we need Reaves..

  • Many kids take time to reach their potential. We have given Chytil, Lias and Howden a year to learn. This year it is Kakko, Fox and Kraftsov. Panarin should help the kids.

    The defense is still a problem, but adding Trouba will help. Let’s have measured expectations this year.

  • Can we have a real stud (Panarin,) a rookie stud (Kakko or Kraftsov) and a second year success story (Filip Chytil) all in one year? How will Zibby do as the number 2 guy? Will Hank continue to slow down? Will Shatty be moved? Do we have 4 centers? Can the D improve? Lots of good questions.

    • Georgie played really well the last half of the season, and Shesti is a promise- Hank has had his brilliant moments but he has definitely slowed down a lot….I mean quite a bit – anyone watching Sweden a few months ago saw him play mediocre at best – def not the Hank of old. I’m big with loyalty to a player, but given the chance to win, the player has to also be about the team, and not the other way around. I would like to keep him this year, but at 8M for another….that’s negotiable. I do think his sweater should go to the rafters in MSG when it’s time. Just my 2€ (krona)…:)

  • ” above all, want to see Henrik Lundqvist win it all ”

    Unlike the rest of the posters, I take exception to this remark. We are a team first, and foremost. Stop the bullsh*t with it’s all for Hank, he is one of us, a very important one, but it’s for all of us. There I had to say this. Ask any man, or woman in uniform, they think along the same line, we never thought it was for the Captain, or the sarge, it was for us all.

    Now I agree with the rest of the thread, and am looking forward to a good season, with plenty of light at the end of the tunnel, which I thought would take another year, or two. I am a big time fan of these kids, and they will make us all proud, with the hustle, and enthusiasm. Are they going to be world beaters, maybe not, but it’s fair to assume that they won’t look like Hayes out there, going thru the motions, with no heart. I can see future leadership in Kakko, Andersson, and maybe even Trouba?????

    We all can agree that the Achilles heel is still the defense, but the makeup of it today is a vast improvement from last season. Trouba & Skjei, Hajek & ADA, Staal-Rykov & Fox, all look to be better than Pionk & Staal that was force fed to us all season long. Getting rid of 2,of the 3 S’s is critical, and almost mandatory.
    Once that is done, we have breathing room to address the RFA’s, and Chris’s contracts.

    My grandson Jake said it best, “I can’t wait to see the new team this season”, now that’s a thinking boy!!!!!!!!!!

  • A crucial point has been reached.

    We are now short on salary to sign all rfas and keep everyone in the fold.

    Someone will be bought out. And several bridge deals will be made. We get 2.5 million next year from the girardi buyout.

    Lemiuex and deangelo will be bridged. Buch will require some money as well as Trouba.

    They will buyout Brendan smith. And have to dump either Strome or names.

    The optimal solution would be to do the above, and move hank and his albatross contract. Take on half and still clear 4 million in cap space.

    It’s the only way. We have a competitive advantage in our depth. Let’s not start trading it away when the obvious solution is to dump the 38 year old goalie.

    • And no his mike richter tribute mask won’t help him this year. Even tombradies regimen can help him now.

    • You say dump his contract like it’s just that easy. He’s not going anywhere until his contract is up. Then the Rangers move on. It’s that simple.

      • Oh it’s not easy. He needs to think of the team first and waive his nmc. Which he selfishly decided not to do.

        Every king must at one point pass on the crown.

        • Hank can lose 20 games in a row and not be waived…..Hank will finish here and then retire..Hank will not play for any other team..period….

    • Love the down votes. But statistical analysis of his stats for the past 4 years shows a decline every single year , even when we had some decent players.

      Do you actually think at 38 hank will regain form from 5 years ago?

      First 8 million dollar backup goalie in nhl history.

      • Did you also check the general statistics? If on avg some statistics are down?
        I believe this year there seemed to be an uptic in scoring.

      • Even better Mikeyyy…not only do the Hank cult think he hasn’t lost a step at all…they believe he will get another contract with us in 2 years

        • 3.07 gaa. And a .907 sa%.

          NHL average .909 sa%

          0 number of shutouts he got last year

          Love the guy to death. Hof goalie.

          But below average is not the way to go out.

          • Mickey, pick your battles. This is your lawyer speaking. lol The contract given to Hank was appropriate — and don’t say you meant the whole situation of contracts, like those given to Staal, etc., this thread is about Hank alone. ?

          • Thanks for Adding that data.
            Hopefully he’ll be a bit better, although I’m not sure if it’ll happen. I guess there’s a large mental aspect to it too, on the assumption that his biggest strength was to play the angles and let the puck hit him.
            I think I saw him trying to do too much which can backfire. But we’ll see what happens.

  • I’ll put it this way….. if the NYR have trade Kreider and/or someone like Buchnevich, and we still have Staal and f’n Brendan Smith here, then these great re-build feelings will take a step backwards for sure.

    Shattenkirk will probably do alright honestly. He’s healthy for once. And the pressure is off of him a little bit. He could very likely play himself into a trade with someone during the season.

    Signing Panarin changes quite a bit now. But it makes absolutely no sense to trade a guy like CK when you have all these other guys like Staal, Smith, Strome, Namestnikov, etc.

    Kreider has a chance for a monster year now that Panarin will go against the other teams top d-men. CK can eat up 2nd/3rd-tier players. Keep the talent, and figure out a way to do it.

    • All great points, and that’s JG’s mission if he accepts it. “A little Mission Impossible” humor there, LOL!!
      The key though is keeping Chris, and then all the stars will align together…….

      • Yeah but if JG is captured or found out you’re going to disavow any knowledge of JG and his mission. ?

    • Great point chrisct on Kreider eating up 2nd and 3rd liners….The Rangers will keep Chris and my hunch is a 5 year deal in the neighborhood of 7 million dollars…..At first I did not think Panarin and Kreider would be on the same team as I though Chris could get traded due to salary and cap… but Rangers will make room for Trouba and Kreider’s contracts by subtracting at least another 10-15 million in salaries…..currently being worked on by leadership.

  • ‘realized’ implies its over. still very shallow/unproven at C. Some d aspects still suspect. panarin compliance will gut org depth . sooooo while they for sure should be more dynamic – still very much a work in progress.

    • Yes. It’s still going to take a bit to acclimate all the rookies/second year players. Most will not hit the ground running in the NHL. Still have to go through the process.

  • Last night I watched Valiquette say Trouba is only a 3-4 D man for us and not a 1-2. What F’n game is he watching?

  • Gorton’s next jobs are to ink Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba to deals and bridge a couple of guys like ADA and Lemieux. You keep talent and spend other less talented assets in order to keep your talent, always. So you find a way to trade at least Smith or Shatty, Namestnikov or Strome, and then roll the dice with the young centers, keeping one older guy like Strome to be your 2C if Chytil isn’t yet ready. It is not ideal yet and right now we are talking as if Kravstov and Kakko and Fox are going to slip right into the lineup and that Howden and Andersson and Chytil find their NHL games at center, so saying that the rebuild has been ‘realized is a little premature, but wow they are on their way.

      • I would not be hesitant to shop Buch either, but only if it helps you move a defenseman. So if they won’t take Shatty, but will if we include Buch, make the deal.

      • Why would we shop Buchenvich when we need forwards and he had talent when there are far less talented players on the squad who they might be able to move to create the necessary cap space? Nah, I’d disagree with that idea.

        • Talented forwards (in order of talent level, my opinion): Panarin, Zbinejad, Kreider, Kravstov, Kakko, Buch, Chytil, Strome, Howden, Fast, Andersson, LeMieux, Nieves.

        • We have 14 forwards who played on the roster *last season* and that’s before the addition of Panarin, Kravtsov and Kakko.

          We *need* forwards?

  • I could live with that…He has been hype so far….I’d give him 1 year with Panarin and if he is still an enigma…gone

  • If I had to guess I would say we’re trading 1 of Namestnikov or Strome and 1 of Smith or Shattenkirk. With Smith or Shattenkirk I could see them retaining salary, from 25% to 50% depending on the deal.

      • I’m in my home office now getting ready for the great military parade tomorrow. When I think America I love to think about war and sending young men to battle, whether we need to or not.

        PS: All respect to our vets and military, I just have a little issue with the Orange Draft Dodging Commander in Chief who wraps himself in OUR flag.

  • I can’t be the only one seeing parallels in terms of the rebuild and subsequent execution from what the Yankees did a couple years ago and what the Rangers are doing now.

    Making it clear that a rebuild was necessary, acting with swift efficacy, getting solid trade returns, a bit of draft fortune, and about 20 months after the rebuild letter was made public, the Rangers look like they’ll go into the 2019-’20 season with actual expectations to be a quality team. Playoffs? Maybe not. Probably not, really, because the Metro division is the deepest division in the NHL and there are at least five teams with legitimate playoff aspirations going into the season besides the Rangers, and it’s not a stretch to say the Flyers or Devils can make a run at things either, especially New Jersey. That’s what works against the Rangers more than anything else, because the schedule is going to be relentless, but be that as it may, the point is that you can see a light at the end of the tunnel developing, and I can’t be sure anyone thought that was going to happen so soon after the rebuild began in earnest.

    That’s a tribute to Gorton and the front office for the job they’ve done. Lots of work still to be done, especially on the blueline, but Rangers fans do have reason for actual optimism, that’s for sure.

    (as an aside – I’m a Tampa Bay fan.)

    • well said, thank you.

      and when is your team going to get it through their thick heads that they need a little physicality in the bottom 6? Then they wold be unstoppable.

    • Actually it’s been about 17 months … although I think the seeds were planted when they traded Stepan at the draft 2 years ago.

  • Happy Fourth, y’all at BlueSeats!! Ready to March this morning for the USMC! These colors don’t run! God bless you and go USA and go NYR! I’m out..!

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