With the Rangers now eliminated from the 2012 playoffs, what changes could be in store in the off-season? Read on to find out!
NEWSDAY: Steve Zipay reports changes could be coming to the NY Rangers this summer, noting they have eight UFAs (Martin Biron, Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko, John Mitchell, Stu Bickell, John Scott, Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka) and three RFAs (Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman, Mats Zuccarello) to consider signing this summer. They’re expected to test the UFA market, where the best potentially available talent include New Jersey’s Zach Parise, Nashville’s Ryan Suter, Phoenix’s Shane Doan and LA’s Dustin Penner. Zipay also wondered if GM Glen Sather might revisit the Rick Nash trade talks with Columbus, or perhaps take a run at Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan.
Arthur Staple points out the Rangers will have between $16.4-$20 million in available cap space this summer to pursue big name talent, like Nash and Parise.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks also noted the Rangers cap space this summer, though he cautioned it remains to be determined what the cap ceiling could be under a new CBA. Given the uncertainty over the future of concussed blueliner Michael Sauer, Brooks believes the Rangers will seek a top-two defenseman to play on the right side with Marc Staal, but noted such a blueliner wouldn’t be cheap. If they were to sign someone like Ryan Suter, they would have to shed a salary or two to also add a scoring forward, like Nash or Parise, though he doesn’t seem optimistic about the latter coming to the Rangers (“Dream on”). He believes they’ll re-sign Biron and Prust, or perhaps Fedotenko if Prust seeks too much. Brooks doubts the RFAs other than Del Zotto will be re-signed.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard lists five thing the Rangers must address this summer. Among them: get a goal-scorer (Parise? Nash?), improve the defensive depth, and bulking up on the wings.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Andrew Gross also believes GM Glen Sather will be busy this summer seeking to bolster his offense, be it pursuing Parise via free agency or Nash or Ryan via trade, plus perhaps pursue a top defenseman if Michael Sauer (concussion) is unable to continue his career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers will be busy this off-season, and they will try to target Parise and perhaps Suter if they test the UFA market. If that doesn’t work, they’ll hit the trade market. As we’ve seen in the past, especially in today’s salary cap world, the Rangers remain a preferred destination for free agents, and they certainly shouldn’t be ruled out as a possible destination for Nash. I don’t believe the Ducks will shop Bobby Ryan, but if they did, the Rangers would be among the front-runners for his services. Sather will not stand pat this summer. He’ll work out something to add (at the very least) a first line scorer.