2 Ways Rangers Must Restructure In Offseason

The New York Rangers' season concluded in a way that they didn't envision after loading up at the trade deadline. Instead of going deep into the playoffs, they were knocked out of the first round by the New Jersey Devils because the scoring just evaporated and was nowhere to be found for a handful of games.

The defensive side of the game was fine and Igor Shesterkin was arguably the best goalie in the first round this season, but the Rangers were shut out twice and some of their top offensive producers were nowhere to be found. This will call for some changes involving personnel and lineup structure.

Give the Kids a Shot

The first order of business should be making room in the top-six for the young players. Positive strides were taken this season by Alexis Lafreniere, Kappo Kakko, and Filip Chytil even though the first two haven't yet looked like number one and two overall picks. Sometimes it takes young players time to find their way. We have to remember that they are still only 21 and 22.

If Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko aren't brought back for next season and no significant additions are made in the offseason, that means that there are two spots for the three young players in the top-six for next season. Typically high overall picks come into teams that are at the very bottom of the league and have room immediately for them to slot in high up in the lineup. This wasn't the case for the Rangers as they luckily won the draft lottery and moved up a number of spots. While already having a fairly good roster, this forced these young players to have to outperform the solid veterans to get time in the top-six, which hasn't happened.

The Rangers aren't oozing with cap space, so while Kakko and Lafreniere aren't being paid a lot, give them the chance to grow into the players the team hopes they can be. Chytil on the other hand has been paid and his new contract starts next season. $4.437 million AAV is arguably too much to be giving a third line player as well.

Get New Blood on the Team

Kane and Tarasenko weren't what the Rangers needed this season. It didn't look like many of the veterans were that hungry to go to the Stanley Cup as those two big additions had already won Cups elsewhere. Both of these players are going to require decently sized cap hits to say the least and there will be some hungrier middle-six wingers that will be able to do the job just fine who are younger and have potential.

I wasn't impressed with Niko Mikkola on the back-end since he came over and it won't be any significant loss to let him walk in free agency. While Ben Harpur put in some good work for the Rangers this season and can be a solid seventh defenseman, Zac Jones should get another opportunity with another year of development under his belt.

Jaroslav Halak wasn't very good in the first half of the season for the Rangers, but really picked up his game in the second half. Despite this, he is at the end of his career and there appear to be some solid backups who will be available in free agency who could put together a more complete season. While someone like Artemi Panarin isn't going anywhere, he needs to show up next season, especially in the playoffs as he had just two assists in seven games.

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