The Rangers will rely on their kids more than ever

Regarding the Rangers, it’s just over five weeks of bootcamp.

1. Isn’t it, because just as the word “rebuild” has disappeared from the vocabulary, so will the Blues depend more than ever on their juniors?

This year’s team will carry the expectations created by the team’s success last year. But this year’s team will be without the three leases up front, which has completed the acquisition approaching the 2021-22 trading deadline for the Rangers – free agent Andrew Cope, Frank Vatrano and fourth player Tyler Mott all left in the off-season.

Handcuffed now for the foreseeable future, general manager Chris Drury was unable to replace Cope and Vatrano, and instead used any available capital to sign Vincent Trochek to replace Ryan Strom, who also exited New York as a free agent.

Without Copp and Vatrano, both of whom played on the right, the Rangers will need Capo Kakko to take a full step forward after an encouraging post-season that blatantly stalled with Scratch Heard’ Round Rangerstown.

They will need Vitaly Kravtsov to prove that he is a player who deserves the best six/best nine minutes in the NHL. They will need Alexis Lafreniere to build his most promising qualification. The same applies to Philip Schietel.

The Rangers will need more Kabu Kaku and Alexis Lavrinier next season.
NHLI via Getty Images

Rangers scored 223 goals in the National Hockey League last season. That would have been ranked 26th in the league. This will not be enough this time. The kids – lowercase, uppercase, the way you want them to – will be forced to produce.

2. Question 1 regarding line groups: Will coach Gerard Gallant, who isn’t as fond of The Kid Line as most of us are, reunite Lafreniere, Chytil and Kakko as the club’s third line, or will Lafreniere jump to the right wing at the top of the unit with Mika Zibanijad and Chris Kreider? ?

If Lavrinier remains on the left, the Rangers right side will include Kaku, Kravetsov, Sami Blais, Ryan Reeves and Julian Gautier. They combined to score 15 goals in 175 NHL games last season.

Lavrinier scored 19 goals in 79 matches, seven of which came in 25 matches with Zipanegad.

3. Let’s say Lafreniere – instead of Blais, who was with number 20 and 93 in his last three games before losing to a knee injury that ended the season on November 14 – gets the job done.

Vitaly Kravtsov
Getty Images

That leaves the second line spot on the right with Trochik and Artemy Panarin either Kaku or Kravtsov, and the other probably in the third line with Chittel and… well, maybe Bliss, maybe Barclay Goudreau, maybe Will Coyle if he’s 20 – old he can jump out of Junior world to the top nine.

4. By the way, if Kravtsov is unable to form the team, then… Gauthier?

Remember, Gauthier outperformed ailing Kravtsov for a place on last year’s list. How could you forget? Then he’s back to himself, unable to resolve the disconnect that inevitably appears once the wing is 10 feet from the net with a puck disc on his stick.

Gauthier was scratched by David Quinn in 24 of the team’s 56 games in 2020-21 before being scratched by Galant in 30 of 82 last season. But here he is again, perhaps talking about the club’s lack of depth in that aspect. .

The 24-year-old winger Drury – five goals in 96 career games – has signed a one-year, $800,000 contract whose one-way component could discourage clubs from claiming Gautier if he is relieved.

Yes, Goodrow is always an option for the top nine, and it probably makes perfect sense to add both his 200 feet of experience and expertise in a third streak with Chytil and Kravtsov. Despite this, the Rangers would benefit if Goudreau establishes the fourth streak.

5. You know how the Rangers needed to grow up after they couldn’t get inside against Tampa Bay?

The only way they would grow up was if Blais could land a meaningful – which means top nine – role. (And if Cuylle is able to exceed reasonable expectations.)

6. If Coyle isn’t a top nine, he should be at Hartford at the highest unit in the Wolfpack. If Lafreniere switches to the right wing, Cuylle can stay on the left. Otherwise, it needs to make the shift to its outer side.

Will Quill
Bill Gastron

If Brennan Usman can ride a wave of the World Juniors to a crushing training camp, by all means Rangers should use their nine-game probationary period to get an overall look.

But it’s highly unrealistic to expect the teenager to break into the lineup and it would be a huge mistake to rush into picking 2021, the number 16 in the NHL months before his 20th birthday in January 2023.

7. Galant loves volume, we all know that, and he loves volume twice as much on the back end, and we all know that for sure.

Which is why the club’s options for the left duo in a seemingly left defense job between Zach Jones and Libor Hajek – a healthy 60-time scratcher, for goodness sake – are so exciting.

Will there be pressure to add $800,000 from the veteran during camp if the coach isn’t intrigued by what he’s seeing?

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