May 5, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Daniel Carr # 28 of the Washington Capitals checks out Vitali Kravtsov # 74 of the New York Rangers in the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Bruce Bennett / POOL PHOTO-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Rangers completed a successful October under first-year head coach Gerard Gallant. The experienced bench boss has lived up to his reputation as being a player’s coach and making this team stand out, even in adverse circumstances.
Despite the Blueshirts 6-2-1 start, which includes five straight road wins, there are some exciting stories involving cases that require a positive solution. Let’s dive in.
Trade with Vitali Kravtsov
It is possible that this would not be such a big a story if it were not for the fact that Kravtsov is the second-best selection in the first round that will out of the organization. Lias Andersson, a 7th overall choice from 2017, romped for Sweden from Wolf Pack in 2019. He was swapped for an election in the second round in 2020.
Now we have 2018 1st rounds (9th overall) refusing assignment to Hartford and sitting in Russia waiting for a trade. The 21-year-old has just 4 points in 20 NHL games and does not trust Chris Drury with his career. On top of that, there is probably some anger over how he has been treated by the then assistant GM back in 2019.
Recent reports suggest Drury wants another top prospect in return, but no one is willing to do so. Either way, Rangers have loaned him out to Tractor in the KHL as they work to get a deal done. Anything less than what they got for Andersson will be a failure.
Will the Rangers pick a captain this season?
Calls for Adam Fox to be named captain grew stronger after his extension was announced on Monday. Gerard Gallant basically shot it down in his meeting with the media right after. “Just do what he does,” Gallant replied when asked if he would like to see Fox in a bigger leadership role.
“We have enough leaders,” he continued. “I want him to come to the rink and do exactly what he’s been doing for the last two years.”
So will the Rangers appoint a captain this season? From what I’ve been able to figure out, it does not seem likely, at least for the regular season. It is possible that if the team comes to the off-season, they can appoint a captain for the playoffs. Jacob Trouba is still the primary candidate to get the honor.
What to do with Ryan Strome?
Since joining Rangers, Strome’s play has steadily improved. Last season, he scored 49 points in 56 games and picked up 59 points in 70 competitions the season before. The 28-year-old is still in his prime and his numbers should continue to rise and get closer to a point a game status.
“I love being a Ranger, I think I fit in well here,” he said during training camp about his contract status. “Whatever happens, happens. Everyone is really excited (for this season) and that’s my focus.”
Unfortunately, the flat cap may have already dictated Strome’s fate. With the ceiling fixed at $ 81.5 million the last two seasons, and only expected to rise to $ 82.5 million next season, there is no room to give him a huge raise. It was made even harder when Rangers announced a 7-year extension for Adam Fox worth $ 9.5M AAV.
The previous 5th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft would be within his right to request a contract in the range of $ 6.5M to $ 7.5M. A marked increase over his current $ 4.5M deal, which expires this summer. Chris Drury needs to take a good step here, especially as there is a lack of depth at the center of the organization.
Letting him go this summer for nothing is not an option. It would be great to keep him, but someone who is well versed with Rangers told me that it is impossible for Strome or Alexandar Georgiev to be here for cap reasons.
That’s about the Jack Eichel trade. Read what the wait might be here.