Rangers projected lineup has talent and cap space

NY Post

The New York Rangers will enter training camp with a young, talented, and inexpensive lineup. While much remains to be seen, my initial projection is based on certain players talent, maturity, and fit in the lineup.

2018-19 Projected Lineup

2018-19 Projected Lineup (via CapFriendly)

These Young Guys Win Out

Training camp is going to have a ton of young players vying for a spot in this lineup. Right off the bat, Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil are penned in based off their strong auditions last season. So let’s focus on the two young players I feel will crack the lineup.

Brett Howden (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brett Howden is a player that Jeff Gorton really wanted in the Ryan McDonagh deal. Described as hard nosed with puck skill, Howden looks like a perfect fit to center the fourth line. Michael Lundqvist has the offensive skills to play but the Rangers have too many wingers in order for him to bump one of them out of the lineup. Regardless, keep an eye on him, especially in the event of a trade.

On defense, I’m giving a spot to Brendan Smith. The Rangers are going to need NHL experience on the blue-line this season with so many young forwards. However, Libor Hajek is the man to watch and could supplant Tony DeAngelo in camp. Ultimately in the end, the Rangers could have them both and maybe even Sean Day or Ryan Lindgren in the lineup by season’s end.

Cap Space

The Rangers should be entering the season with over $4 million in cap space. That doesn’t mean much now, but entering next season’s UFA frenzy with names like Tyler Seguin and Artemi Panarin available it will mean a lot.

Jeff Gorton could have at least 15 million or more in cap space next season to land a big prize. Mats Zuccarello’s $4.5M and likely, Kevin Hayes’ $5.175M will be off the books and the Rangers will move some other big salaries before next July in order to improve the lineup for the the next 5-7 years.

 

 

6 comments

  • This well thought out…gonna give u a surprise change — I don’t see Buchnevich surviving the season. The guy is slow, mostly coasts instead of skate and can’t put a lick on a stamp.

    Guys gone this year…Nemesnikov, Buchnev, Zucc, Stall (finally), McLeod and D’angelo…

    Let’s get in talent, speed, and desire

  • Tony, EXCELLENT piece. Very well done.
    I can see Zucc traded, if not sooner, then at the trade deadline. That will open up a spot on the wing.
    It’s gonna be an interesting training camp, that’s for sure.

  • Steve Robillard

    Why does everyone want Zucc gone? The Rangers management need to hold on to reliable veterans with heart and soul and play hard night after night. Why trade away your top point performer to a contender when you should be putting the”C” on his chest and let him guide this rebuild to what style that he plays. I can’t believe that they give Hayes and Zibanejad more money than him. It would be a sad day in New York to see him get traded.

  • Smith can play either side but DeAngelo is strictly a right dman so that should be corrected. Scary to think that Staal Pionk might be our 2nd defense pair, but it could happen.

    Agree that Zuc will likely be dealt – probably at trade deadline when his value will be highest. Would be painful to lose our most popular skater but he will be past his prime whenever we turn this thing around. Everyone thinks Hayes will be gone too but I wonder – what if he continues being a good scorer and shut down center while one or both of Anderson and Chytil disappoint or seem better suited to wing. Hayes could well be the best center we have and he is only 26. Then JG may be willing to commit to him long term in January.

    In any event we have a new coach and a ton of prospects so it really is a crapshoot as to what the lines, pairs, etc, will be on opening night. Camp will sort all that out and there is more uncertainty than ever concerning how it will all play out.

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