MOOSE JAW, CANADA – We’re just three weeks away from the start of the NHL season, which means two things: 1) There may again be a Cheesy Bruin sighting and 2) I will be talking shop re the New York Rangers. Let’s go with #2.
Rangers training camp is under way and there are still some unanswered roster questions. The Blueshirts have plenty of cap space available and have been looking to add some marquee talent. There’s no end in sight to the Jack Eichel saga, with the 24-year old centre (Canadian spelling) going under the knife to repair a disk in his neck. The Rangers seem to still be in the running to trade for Eichel. But the Sabres asking price remains incredibly high. Especially considering the health concerns around Eichel’s neck.
The Broadway Blues are also in the running for Vladimir Tarasenko, who requested a trade from Cam Jmaes’ St. Louis Blues earlier this summer. There are others in the hunt for Tarasenko, including the Islanders and Bruins. The Rangers may wait to see what happens with Eichel and his neck before they decide to spend that $9 million in cap space though.
Even without Eichel or Tarasenko, NY will be a very different team this season. They’ve added depth and toughness which were both sorely lacking the last few seasons. Gerard Gallant was hired to replace David Quinn behind the bench. Gallant brings plenty of experience after stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Florida Panthers, and Las Vegas Golden Knights. He brought the Knights to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.
#NYR brass has put a priority on winning now and the moves they’ve made this offseason look to be solid steps towards that goal. The rebuild officially ended when JD (John Davidson) and Jeff Gorton were unceremoniously kicked to the curb last spring. David Quinn got the axe shortly after. The focus since has been making the roster deeper and tougher and there’s no doubt they’ve accomplished that. They added a reliable stay-at-home defenseman in Patrik Nemeth and an enforcer in Ryan Reaves.
The most curious move of the summer was trading first-line winger Pavel Buchnevich to ST Louis for fourth-liner Sammy Blais. Blais brings more grit and some Stanley Cup pedigree but he won’t be a replacement for Buch. The move appeared to be mainly financial. Buchnevich was going to command big money when he became a free agent. He ended up signing a four-year extension with the Blues worth just under $6 million per year. The Rangers weren’t going to be able to pay him that much, so they let him go. The return seems minimal but we will see how it plays out.
Winning is the great deodorant and if the Rangers can make a big playoff push this season then people will quickly forget that we let Buchnevich go for a six-roll pack of stick tape and some practice pucks.
Preseason games start in three weeks and the Rangers open their season in Washington on October 13th. It’ll be interesting to see how the new-look sqaud handles Tom Wilson, who gave the Rangers a collective swirly last season. Ryan Reaves can scrap and he may take a run at Wilson. Time will tell.
Hockey will be back soon, and that will be a good distraction for you Mets fans. #DropTheMic