We move on in our preview of the Metropolitan Division, this time looking at the New York Rangers, the most recent trading partner of the Ottawa Senators. Here’s Joe Fortunato of Blueshirt Banter to answer three questions.
1. This summer, the Rangers let a couple veterans walk, made a couple depth UFA signings, traded to get younger, and locked up some key RFAs. Were you surprised by a relatively patient summer by Rangers management?
I wouldn't say I was surprised by the Rangers patient approach because I don't think they were overly patient. The Nick Holden acquisition makes sense in a vacuum, the Mika Zibanejad trade was spectacular and Jeff Gorton worked some magic in both free agency and in his own house. I guess the surprise is that he's done nothing with the defense. Maybe he spent the time waiting on Jimmy Vesey, but to this point it's been a disappointment to not see anything happen there.
2. Do you think Rick Nash will get traded before the end of the season? If not, do you think the team would expose him in an expansion draft?
I'm not sure. I think the Rangers were waiting on a Vesey landing before they made any decisions. If Nash were to be moved I'd think it would have to be at the trade deadline this year. I can't imagine the Rangers are going to allow him to be claimed at the expansion draft.
3. How well do you think this team will do this year? If Henrik Lundqvist is injured most of the year (like Carey Price last year), how much does that hurt the team in the standings?
This is a million dollar question. I think Henrik Lundqvist himself is enough to keep the Rangers in the playoffs regardless of the dumpster fire that is the defense in front of him. Him getting injured is really the nuclear option for the Rangers at this point. Lundqvist saw the most in close shots of any goalie by a wide margin last year. It was only his elite talent level that kept the Rangers' heads above water. So, yeah, an injury would be bad news bears.