It’s been nine days since the NHL free agency period began. One of the biggest question marks going into this offseason was how the New York Rangers would be able to re-sign 12 of their players or let some of them go. To this point, the players who were expected to leave and cash out did, while one has re-signed and three restricted free agents are looking for long-term deals. Some free agent deals that have been made were defenseman Dan Boyle and grinder Tanner Glass.
While New York has been mostly silent so far, this can be looked at as a good thing. Thanks to a salary cap, Rangers GM Glen Sather can’t throw out money left and right like he used to to older players who would eventually underachieve. This new CBA, in a way, forces you to build a team rather than go for the big names. The Rangers have a good young core to build around that worked well with their veterans last season.
Speaking of young players, most successful teams win by building from the ground up. We’ve seen it around in every professional sport, and in the NHL it’s even more essential. I mean you’ll have players like Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist who’ll take up a good amount of the cap and deservedly so. Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello are examples of players the Rangers groomed from their farm system. Don’t you want to see what J.T. Miller and Oscar Lindberg have to offer? Players can only develop in the farm for such a long time before they’ll get called up.
Now that the Rangers have the pieces to build around, minus their salary arbitration hearings they don’t really need free agency. A first line center is a need, but that could always be acquired via trade as well. Fans have wanted Sather to build the farm instead of spending big bucks, and with a championship-caliber team in Madison Square Garden, that chance is now.