It has now been over a week since the NHL free agency period started on July 1, and unlike past offseasons, the New York Rangers did not make much noise. With the Rangers’ signings of just Dan Boyle, Tanner Glass, Dominic Moore and some AHL players, it is pretty obvious that unless a trade is struck GM Glen Sather is putting his trust in the youngsters to fill in the holes of the roster left by free agency.
Brad Richards, Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle and Benoit Pouliot have all left, and so far the Rangers have only replaced one of them. Stralman was replaced by Dan Boyle on the fist day of free agency, but no one has replaced Richards, Brian Boyle and Pouliot meaning the Rangers are still short a center and two wingers. Now on July 10, there really is no one of relevance left out there for the Rangers to sign. So unless there is some type of trade that Sather is trying to pull off as you are reading this, then the Rangers will have to rely on two or three prospects to make that jump to the NHL.
One name that comes to mind is obviously J.T. Miller, the 21-year-old winger/center who has been constantly moved back and forth between the AHL and the NHL these past few seasons. He will likely be depended upon the most to permanently stay in NHL with the Rangers this season. Another name is Oscar Lindberg, a 22-year-old center known for his two-way game who will be looking to crack his first NHL lineup this season. Others include winger Jesper Fast, who Rangers fans saw multiple times off and on last season, Ryan Haggerty, an undrafted winger the Rangers signed out of college towards the end of last season, Danny Kristo, a prospect winger who was traded to the Rangers from the Montreal Canadiens last offseason, and more.
The Rangers definitely have a number of young talents they can choose from to fill two or three roster spots this upcoming season, but the question is are any of them ready to make that permanent leap to the NHL and help get the Rangers back to the Stanley Cup Final? Unfortunately the chances of that are slim, but we will just have to wait and see.