We pretty much are in full swing of the offseason despite the fact that it should be playoffs going on right now. How I have been thinking of what a perfect offseason would look like for the Rangers.
So currently there is mass speculation on what is happening with the salary cap and potentially compliance buyouts issued out to teams. As recently as the beginning of March it has been said the cap will INCREASE to $84-88.2 million. If it does increase I doubt there will be any buyouts offered to teams as just a bump to $84 million is a jump of $2.5 million, which is roughly the price of a solid 3rd line player. HOWEVER there are still some murmurs out there that the cap will not rise and stay at or go below $81.5 million because of the pandemic and buyouts will be given out.
My offseason plans for the cap to stay at $81.5 million and the teams are given TWO compliance buyouts. I have posted this in a comment BUT I only did the buyouts and a small highlight of what I would do. We need to field a competitive and young team which will be quite easy. However this is also assuming players are ready for the jump.
To recap my buyout plans Henrik Lundqvist is the recipient of one of the compliance buyouts while Jacob Trouba is the other one. I don't think getting Trouba or his contract is/was a mistake but with the duration and other RD players showing they are ready it makes Trouba expendable. As well to complete buyouts I am targetting another long time Ranger, Marc Staal for a Standard buyout. Trouba and Henrik are the 3rd and 2nd highest cap hits (respectively) and free up $16.5 million combined while Staal frees up an additional $2.1 million. Combine that $18.6 million to the $14.4 million in cap space and we are looking at $33 million in space to add players.
Without any (re)signings or promotions the Rangers need to fill a few roster spots.
2 Left wings
1 right wing
1 extra forward
1 left defenseman
2 right defensemen
1 extra defenseman
So here is where this fanpost gets fun. Who to target for resigning and signing, any trades, and of course the draft. Now I will admit I didn't start looking at the prospects for the 2020 draft yet because I was focused on the NFL one and I just haven't felt like looking at more prospects even for a different sport yet. For as much as a defender I was Ryan Strome did price himself out of the team when we didn't have $33 million in available cap space.
Ryan Strome 1 year $4.75 million cap hit: Erring on the side of caution that Strome was just a product of the immense talent Panarin is Strome gets a 1 year deal at a slightly higher cap hit than he should have.
Alexandar Georgiev 2 year $3.5 million cap hit: Coming in a little hot here for someone that might be splitting the season evenly with the other goalie. It gives Georgie-boy a decent raise and length but not one that doesn't make him the defacto starter. I think this sets up a perfect opportunity to trade him at either deadline or next year's draft as a cheap option. This also let's Huska, Wall, Lindbom continue to develop in the league they will play in.
Anthony DeAngelo 6 year $6 million cap hit: I know our history on contracts around this price and this length but DeAngelo was easily our 2nd best or possibly tied for 1st best defenseman. He is also young enough that he should be able to replicate the production for a few years or even possibly increase depending on the surrounding players.
Brendan Lemieux 3 year $2.5 million cap hit: Lemieux is more than just a face puncher. He posted highs in assists and points and likely would have added a couple more goals if the season wasn't halted. This is playing in to him developing to be a player similar to his father in his 4th year of the league. Luckily for Brendan his dad didn't hit stride until his 4th year as well getting playing time after a total of 19 games the 3 years before. Brendan already has over 14 times the amount of games played in his first 3 years in the league and 6 times the points then papa Lemieux.
Break time. Before continuing on we have now filled in 1 LW, 1 C, 1 RD, and 1 G and still have 7 spots to fill for the roster and we have used $16.75 million of the cap space and are looking at a little over $17 million to spend, which case that isn't all going to be spent.
Promotion time! Newly signed K'Andre Miller get to play in the NHL and Vitali Kravstov also gets his name penciled in on the roster. This gives us only 2 defensemen spots and 2 forward spots for being dressed in the game. Next we sign and promote one Nils Lundkvist to the roster. These 3 players make the cap space a tad over $14 million. We have 3 forward positions and 1 defense position to fill.
We could resign Phillip Di Giuseppe but I doubt he will be a lock to make the NHL even with his 20 games played. We are going to go for 2 UFA players here. First is one of my favorite targets before he was shipped to Arizona, Alex Galchenyuk. His price tag shouldn't be near his $4.9 million he was making because he floundered outside Montreal and Arizona, somehow. He also makes a good balanced attack in the bottom 6. We sign this former 3rd overall selection for a 1 year deal to the tune of $3 million. For the second UFA we are bringing in some defensive help. I wanted to go right handed to help out Nils' transition to the NHL. The target is Mark Pysyk. He isn't known for his offense from the position but he does help defensively. We get him for a 2 year $3.25 million cap hit.
We now sit at a staggering $8.1 million in cap space and we are looking to get that down to around $6 million. We are done signing and promoting. This time we are looking to have 2 of our own players come back to the NHL for redemption. Lias Andersson and Brett Howden. We now have a 22 man roster with $6.3 million in cap space. There aren't any glaring holes but our bottom six is better offensively and our largest contracts can't really be considered albatrosses or anchors.
Upgrade with an unlikely player coming in. We dust off the phone for the Carolina Hurricanes. We offer them a nice little package of Howden, Lindbom, and the Dallas 3rd round for Vincent Trocheck. This acquisition let's Chytil focus on the offensive side of the game and easily gives us the equivalent of a complete 1st line and three 2nd lines. This adds about $3.9 million to the cap and leaves near $2.4 million in space still.
The keeping of Strome and Panarin together gives us a chance at the best match ups and chemistry. Buch should be able to keep up and pop in a few goals or assist Breadman a little better.
Chemistry between Zib and Kreider is undeniable. Kakko as a sophmore player gets 2 good forwards to lean on while pushing the offense in his game.
Gives Gally a more relaxed role with 3rd line duties and having Chytil as his center isn't a bad option at all. Kravstov gets to prove his offense contributions will be amazing as well if given line mates that can help push his skills.
Trocheck adds that defense from a center and being a solid offense producer as well makes this line feel like a 2nd line listed as a 4th line. Andersson gets shifted to LW where he might be better off in the long run at this point. And Gauthier adds that snarl and size.
13th foward: Lemieux
I have a feeling he would be rotating in often on that 4th line eith Andersson or even Gauthier.
The future 1st pairing anyway, let them work through any growing pains and watch the other team suffer.
I don't want Smith here with ADA and Lindgren would be able to allow ADA to do more of his style of play.
Sadly here Smith provides some veteran leadership and a reduced role to 3rd pairing and no special teams should enable him to accel better. Lundkvist gets to come in to his own slowly.
7th defenseman: Pysyk
As I said Pysyk could end up just staying as the mainstay 3rd pair RD with Lundkvist subbing in here and there.
Started off scorching out in the NHL with 10 wins and 2 losses. Less than 30 goals allowed (ok he let in 29) with a sv% of .932 for some goalie stats as well. I'm fairly certain he is the future and is named the starter
He might be tired of being a back up so he might up his play in net this season to either be traded OR be in a tandem splitting the games with Shesterkin.