The Rangers have questions to answer this offseason
The Rangers were eliminated in five games by Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon, and the season brings upon a lot of questions to general manager Jeff Gorton and the entire Rangers organization.
The Rangers made a big splash at the trade deadline by sending two second round picks and top center prospext Aleksi Saarela to Carolina for Eric Staal. In hindsight, the trade proved to be as disastrous as it looked on paper with Staal mustering only six points in 25 games in the Big Apple.
Now comes the long and winding offseason for the Rangers. They face the possibility of having a completely new-looking roster next year with Eric Staal, Keith Yandle, Dominic Moore, and Dan Boyle all being unrestricted free agents. Boyle, a healthy scratch in the 6-3 loss, could possibly retire. Keith Yandle has long been a source of controversy and it is uncertain the route the Rangers will take with him. Dominic Moore has bounced from team to team but he and the organization seem to have a good relationship, so expect that to continue.
The likes of Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, and JT Miller all need new contracts as well, although they are restricted free agents. Miller came into his own in the regular season but did not have a strong playoffs and did not score. That’s not to say Miller was bad, because almost every Rangers player did not have a strong playoffs.
Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes both struggled with inconsistency this year. The culmination of all that was Alain Vigneault healthy scratching Hayes in the last two games of the playoffs.
The Rangers need to undergo a serious re-evaluation of their roster this offseason. Letting go of Eric Staal and doing all they can to re-sign Keith Yandle is a must. The Rangers cannot afford to mortgage any more of their future, but a re-tool is in order.
Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t have much time left in the league, and if the Rangers want to see him win it all in their colors, serious actions have to be taken.