Who Will Be The Rangers Golden Knight?

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One player in this top group will not be a member of the New York Rangers unless Vegas works out a deal with Jeff Gorton to send money, prospects, and/or picks so nobody is plucked from the big club:

NYR Protection list

Who can it be now?

What’s Available

Looking at what’s available around the league, we already know the Knights have their starting goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury. Speculation is that they’d target Antti Raanta because of his stellar play and insanely low cap number, but I’m not so sure. Detroit has elected to expose Petr Mrazek, and if you look at the forwards that are available in the expansion draft, there’s a ton of bottom-six talent that will serve them well. But there’s few and far between that are capable of 30 goals, and a backup goalie doesn’t mean much to an expansion team that isn’t expected to be competitive for a few years (Hi Nashville!) anyway.

But more importantly, from a business perspective, the organization isn’t going to put butts in seats and sell merchandise by having strong goaltending and a stifling defense (Hi New Jersey!). They’re going to sell tickets and be successful by adding exciting players to the roster that fans can grow to love. If they go for the smart move, the Knights could pick Jonathan Marchessault from Florida, but Jaromir Jagr is actually an available option to be claimed by Vegas. Let that sink in for a minute. He’s the premier name they’ll need to immediately generate a fan base, sell jerseys, and give a good interview. And they will need another top line player to go along with him, a guy that will embrace the community. Someone like Michael Grabner.

@grabs40 tweets

AND HE CAN DO MATH!

 

Seriously, the Knights would be absolutely crazy not to take him and trot him out on a top line with Jagr or Marchessault and let his speed and engaging personality win over the new fans.

While we’ve yet to see if Grabner’s resurgence this past season was mostly system related thanks to AV’s up-tempo offense or mainly due to the fact that he was finally healthy, the Rangers could potentially dodge a season of regression (remember when Brian Boyle scored 22 goals and Sather thought he could keep doing that? Me neither) if they do see him get claimed. Grabner turns 30 this October as well.

Centers Are A Premium

If Vegas is looking for someone to help break the team in, he’s their guy. As long as Golden Knights GM GM (General Manager George McPhee) is willing to accept that they won’t compete for a few years, and wants to maximize talent and cap space, then I have even worse news for you: the Rangers are most likely going to lose Oscar Lindberg.

Steven Ryan

Lindberg is a young center whose rights are easily controlled for another three years before Vegas would have to shell out serious UFA money to keep him. He has shown steady improvement over each of the past two seasons, scoring important goals, and being good in the face-off dot. If the rumors are true that Derek Stepan is on his way out the door (and there’s too much smoke for there not to be fire at this point); then keeping every other center the Rangers have on the roster is essential.

There’s plenty of defensemen out there that can get Vegas by until they can develop their own prospects. Names like Vatanen, McQuaid, Franson, Oduya, Rozsival, Jack Johnson, Kronwall, etc. are all out there to bring their experience and help young guys develop. But a goal scoring forward is tough to come by in the NHL.

 

@grabs40

Let’s hope Vegas just doesn’t try to go after the most attractive guy on the team!

That said, I think the Rangers will work out a deal to keep this forward group intact. It will cost them prospects and picks to do so, but who needs first round picks anyways!?!?

2 comments

  • I agree that the Rangers will keep most, if not all, of their forwards. They will trade a high pick,one or two prospects and future consideration…hint, hint a defenseman with NMC. When? Very soon!!!!!!!!

  • Why do Ranger fans keep calling Lindberg/Fast young they are turning 26 this year, that is not young, in fact they turn 27 next year which means that are the last of their controllable years. Are they NHL talent yes, are they players that will leave a hole in the lineup like other teams if deals arent worked out like Bobby Ryan or James Neal, no. Replacing them isnt a huge hole to fill.

    Replacing Grabners speed will be hard, but as pointed out in the article which Grabner are you getting last seasons or the previous 3 seasons Grabner. Grabner was signed for his pk ability and every fan expected 10-15 goals tops out of him, instead he scored 27, the second most goals hes had in a season. If hes taken and not instantly flipped, Vegas wont get a good return at the deadline.

    Vegas is going to take 7 players that will not fit into the 23 man roster. Without looking at all 30 lists and player contracts, how many players are the best option for Vegas to take are on two way contracts? Probably none, since if they are still on ELC they are either exempt or protected. Plus Vegas has already signed 2 or 3 playes, I dont remember if its 2 or 3. So Vegas is going to be taking some players who they are just going to trade after taking or be exposed to waiver wire in September. I think the Ranger list of exposed players isnt as exciting as other teams, so If I was picking from them, Id say who is the player I could get the most return for instantly. Side note Id love to know what Philly is offering to get Bobby Ryan.

    I think Raanta will be taken as I can name several teams that could use him, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Arizona, Colorado, Philadelphia. Then there are teams that could go a two goalie system like Calgary who may want him over resigning Elliot, same with Toronto, and Anaheim.

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