On the first day of the NHL’s free agency period and a few days after what should be considered a very successful NHL Entry Draft for the New York Rangers, the future looks bright. The 2020 free-agent frenzy began at 12 noon ET on Oct. 9. However, some insiders were speculating that there won’t be much of a frenzy this year due to the salary cap being frozen at $81.5 million per team.
Rangers 2020 Draft Class
The Rangers had two first-round picks including the No. 1 overall pick in which they took Alexis Lafreniere. They then traded up to get another pick in the 19th overall slot from the 22nd spot. In order to trade up, they also gave their 72nd overall pick to get the 19th from the Calgary Flames. The Blueshirts used the pick to select good-sized defenseman Braden Schneider of the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL).
The Rangers did originally have a pick in the second round, but, early on Day 2 of the draft, they traded away Lias Andersson to the Los Angeles Kings for LA’s 60th overall pick. The Rangers decided it was finally time to cut ties with the former seventh overall pick from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. They then used the pick to take 6-foot-2, 204-pound left wing Will Cuylle from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.
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In the third and fourth rounds, the Rangers took Oliver Tarnstrom and Dylan Garand respectively. Tarnstrom is from AIK in Sweden. Garand is a goalie from Kamloops (WHL). The fifth round saw the Rangers select Evan Vierling and Brett Berard (no relation to former Rangers defenseman Bryan). Vierling is a center out of Barrie (OHL) and Berard played with the US National Team Development Program (USNTDP) and is committed to Princeton.
Vierling was the 127th overall pick which the Rangers acquired from the San Jose Sharks for two seventh rounders. Berard was the 133rd pick overall.
The Rangers final two picks were a sixth-rounder in Mathew Rempe at 164th overall and seventh-rounder Hugo Ollas at 196 overall. Rempe is a center from Seattle of the WHL and Ollas is a goalie from Linkopings HC of the Swedish Hockey League.
DeAngelo, Strome and Lundqvist
Sources say that Tony DeAngelo’s days in a Rangers’ uniform are probably numbered. Plus, the fact that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton traded up near the end of the first round to get Schneider, who shoots right like DeAngelo, is probably a good indication that the Rangers plan to move DeAngelo. Some reports are that the Vegas Golden Knights have inquired about the right-handed defenseman. There’s also some speculation that Gorton has been considering moving DeAngelo to the left side.
Gorton said, “We have talked about moving Tony and we’ve talked about our right side and who is the best person to move over there. I don’t think it’s going to be [Trouba], so we’ve talked about [Fox] and Tony in these ongoing conversations, trying to get them more ice time. We have a very talented right side that can move the puck and we do have two guys we think are very capable.” (From ‘Rangers’ Ryan Strome contract dilemma far from resolved,’ New York Post, 10/7/20)
With the breaking news of Jack Johnson’s signing, it almost cements the fact that DeAngelo will be traded. Johnson, who was recently bought out by the Pittsburgh Penguins, signed with the Rangers just after 3 P.M. ET. He plays on the left side of the blue line.
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The Rangers did make a qualifying offer to Ryan Strome, their third-leading scorer, rather than letting him go for nothing. He has arbitration rights and with the numbers he put up last season, he’ll probably be in the $4.75 million range (From ‘Rangers still have huge Ryan Strome decision looming,’ New York Post,10/4/20). Strome, the Rangers’ second-line Center was a $3.1 million cap hit last season.
It’s also official that Henrik Lundqvist signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with Metropolitan Division rival Washington Capitals. The move comes after the Rangers bought him out a week ago and on the heels of Capitals netminder Braden Holtby signing with the Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers will have to face Lundqvist at least a couple of times next season. Since the NHL hasn’t set a schedule yet for 2020-21, we’ll have to wait and see just how many times it will be.