As the trade deadline has passed, it is time for reflection and new beginnings. It also follows the next debate in the hockey community, how their favoured team’s trade decisions affect their future. The New York Rangers were by far, one of the most active, and most productive during this trading period.
Looking to the Future after Recent New York Rangers Trades
With the trades of Nick Holden, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, and most recently captain Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, and Ryan Graves it has been a tough few weeks for the Rangers. But however difficult, its now time to look to the future.
The aim for the Rangers was to do just that, as the dust settles they firstly come away with a vast amount of draft picks for next season.
By acquiring a first-round pick, #NYR now have 10 picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, including three picks in the first round, five picks in the first two rounds, and seven picks in the first three rounds.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 26, 2018
How they manage these young future Blueshirts is yet to be seen, but the main question is, what do fans do in the meantime? There are still fifteen games to be played in the regular season, do they get on the Vegas Golden Knights bandwagon early? Its true playoff hopes are pretty much dead but there is much potential to be seen in the Rangers, making it at the very least exciting viewing.
Filling the Void
It is undetermined who will fill the void created by trading the Rangers long-standing fixures. However, it is hoped that much-loved Mats Zuccarello and living legend Henrik Lundqvist will take the helm. Although it would be no surprise if Zuccarello donned the captain role, with trade concerns for the Norwegian at the end of the season, it may not be realistic.
The Rangers coaching team will need their now “experienced” players to step up and contribute while making this transition. But can they do what is required to aid the future of the team?
Mika Zibanejad becomes the Rangers top scorer with 17 goals. Unusually quiet since his concussion in November, he has only scored six goals since. The next to follow is Pavel Buchnevich, he has 13 goals and 21 assists totaling 34 points. There has been much discussion questioning Alain Vigneault decisions in the past regarding the Russian. His average game time currently is 14.44 minutes but increasing each game. The 22-year-old will now become a regular face on the top offensive line with returning forward Chris Kreider.
So, the Rangers have future draft picks, they have a core network to work on. But let’s not forget the new trades Rangers have required.
Ones To Watch
As part of this new plan, the Rangers have inserted enthusiastic talent to build on their forward depth.
Rangers acquired Ryan Spooner in the Rick Nash trade. The 26-year-old center has not had the opportunity to play a full season in the NHL since being drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2010. In his debut game for the Rangers against the Detroit Red Wings, he recorded two assists. In Vancouver, he was instrumental in the majority of goals scored. The Ontario native has shown early chemistry with teammates Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast, it is clear he will see much more game time. With this, it allows growth potential and more opportunity at contributing in the future.
The Russian is another exciting addition to the team to watch develop as a future Blueshirt. Traded as part of captain Ryan McDonagh deal, Vladislav Namestnikov has experience playing with greats such as Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Midway through the 25-year-old’s season, he has notched up 20 goals and 24 assists for a total of 44 points. With these stats, he is currently first for goals and assists and second behind Zuccarello in points. The Russian also scored in his debut against the Vancouver Canucks.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 1, 2018
Hopes For The Future
There are still going to be aspects that need improvement, it’s not going to happen instantly. The Rangers have struggled defensively for years, but with the addition of players like John Gilmour and tough Rob O’Gara in the trade, it will enhance the team. As general manager Jeff Gorton stated after this shakeup trade period.
“For guys that have been here, they have to cement their place here and show that they want to be part of it. For young players, they need to prove they belong in the league, that we should be looking at them for next year. As we’re moving forward, we’re going to be looking for anything and everything that makes us better.”
Gordon statement captures the Rangers situation perfectly. With the combination of new talent and experience of current reliable players, the rebuild can work. But only if everyone sticks to the same plan. Time will tell if this happens, however, it’s a promising start. Either way, it’s obvious the Rangers want to put the past behind them and push forward for a better future. Rangers faithful simply has to stay strong and weather the storm, the team will do the rest.
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