In addition to a coaching change, it has become apparent that the Rangers need another voice or two in the locker room. There are rumblings that Jacob Trouba is the only vocal guy in the room, which is a bit of a surprise. If that’s the case, and the Rangers lacked voices in the room, then that’s a major area to address. However with one of these Rangers glue guys, Barclay Goodrow, rumored to be a cap casualty, it makes you wonder how many of these guys guys the Rangers can afford to lose.
First on Goodrow, it’s hard to hear this rumor and not be disappointed. Goodrow was brought in with a pretty bad contract to be a glue guy and vocal guy in the room. His $3.6 million contract was supposed to be something we weren’t happy about, but dealt with because he was someone who could help lift the team when they needed it.
To Goodrow’s credit, he did try in Game 5 by fighting Kevin Bahl, who has about 4 feet on him. His effort is not in question. It’s clear he’s a glue guy, even if not as vocal as previously hoped. But with him rumored to be on the way out as a cap casualty, Trouba is the only glue guy left in the room.
Operating under the assumption that Goodrow will be traded and with the Rangers keeping most of their current core, there isn’t much room left to add these effective glue guys. There’s also a big unknown for fans regarding who is actually vocal in the room. It shouldn’t shock anyone that both Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad are more quiet, stoic leaders cut in the Brian Leetch mold. They are leaders, just not vocal.
The Rangers need someone vocal. They were certainly hurt when Ryan Reaves was no longer a regular in the lineup and then traded. Reaves isn’t the answer anymore, as much as he was loved, because he’s a big net-negative on the ice. The Rangers need a voice like his, but someone who is effective on the ice.
Your guess is as good as mine for who that can be. The Rangers don’t exactly have much cap space to work with, even if Goodrow is traded, either. Their $11.7 million in cap space becomes $15.3 million if Goodrow is traded. Conservatively, about half ($7 million) will go to Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller. That’s $8.3 million left to fill out the remaining roster needs:
- Backup goalie ($1 million)
- 6D (Zac Jones? – $1 million)
- 3RW ($3 million)
- 3 LW (Brennan Othmann/Will Cuylle? – $1 million)
- 4C ($1 million)
- 4RW ($1 million)
- 13F ($1 million)
Using round numbers for easier math, that’s $9 million. It’s safe to assume the Rangers get to $8.3 million with league minimum contracts for a 13F and 6D/3LW on ELCs. If Tyler Motte is kept, then the 4RW estimate might be low. It’s not like the Rangers are swimming in cap space.
There aren’t going to be major changes to the Rangers roster this season, so glue guys will need to come at a bargain. Jesper Fast seems to be the popular name lately, especially if the Rangers trade Goodrow. Evolving-Hockey projects him to get 3 years and around $2.5 million. He’d fit into that 3RW role pretty nicely, and the Rangers can probably still keep Motte for the 4th line.
But is cutting one 30+ year old loose to sign another one really a good idea? Or is it just a sideways step?
The Rangers lacked structure and roles, something that Chris Drury has been very adamant about. Gerard Gallant said the right things, but his actions spoke louder than his words, with no roles and just a giant mess of a system. The right coach fixes some of the team speed issues, which are more system based than player based. Perhaps that is enough to get the vibes back.
If not, then the Rangers need another voice that will actually speak up in the locker room. The vanilla roster was exploited badly, and that’s a personality problem that needs fixing.