Barclay Goodrow signing was easy part of Rangers makeover

The Rangers have made the financial commitment to Barclay Goodrow for what, by any goal measure, is an overpayment at a cap hit of $3.64 million per season on a six-year, $21.85 million contract.

But having made that leap after sending a seventh-rounder to Tampa Bay for the rights to Goodrow, then an impending free-agent winger, it now turns into incumbent upon common supervisor Chris Drury to make the dedication to encompass him with complementary gamers whereas forming a devoted checking line.

That will create ripples all through the group because the GM makes an attempt to remake the Rangers right into a extra playoff-compatible group that probably will function much less uncooked expertise than the roster assembled by former GM Jeff Gorton, however can be extra balanced and higher geared up to compete in opposition to the Islanders of the world.

Gorton got here out of the 2020 bubble fiasco acknowledging that the Rangers wanted to grow to be harder to play in opposition to, then did nothing to deal with the matter within the quick time period. The subject lingered and festered. The new regime is addressing the defect as a precedence.

But given the composition of the personnel, it will be tough enterprise. It isn’t merely about transferring one piece right here and one other there. It isn’t even about figuring out bottom-six forwards and offering them with roles. Not but. That comes second. First, is buying them. Or possibly selling them. Because, other than Goodrow and fourth-line heart Kevin Rooney, the Rangers actually don’t have position gamers.

Rangers
Barclay Goodrow and GM Chris Drury
Getty Images, N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

There is each probability Goodrow will heart the third line, although he spent his year-plus with the repeat champion Lightning on the wing. The 28-year-old had tremendous fancy faceoff stats with San Jose in 2017-18 and 2018-19 (55.4 p.c) and clicked at 50 p.c final 12 months for the Lightning. It can also be in all probability simpler to search out wingers to bookend the checking line than it could be to discover a heart who matches the profile, so transferring Goodrow again into the center makes some sense.

But checking the Rangers’ roster, there seems to be a black gap of candidates. Chris Kreider isn’t geared up for that position. Nor is Vitaly Kravtsov. Neither are Alexis Lafreniere or Kaapo Kakko. And if the third line goes to be a devoted checking unit, you possibly can’t stack Kreider, Lafreniere and Artemi Panarin on the left.

So Lafreniere in all probability will transfer to the correct. Which, buddies, is simply one more reason why Drury has been shopping Buchnevich for weeks. Without a present emptiness on the prime, Drury should create one.

Of course, there may be additionally the wage cap because it pertains to Buchnevich. The Rangers are in superb trend for this coming season. But it turns into extraordinarily tight the 12 months after that and nearly inconceivable already in two seasons. For 2023-24, you need to determine that Adam Fox will are available no less than at $9M per on his second contract, and possibly nearer to an annual $10M, relying upon Cale Makar’s anticipated cope with Colorado. You must determine Igor Shesterkin, solely two years away from unrestricted free company and thus holding a large quantity of leverage, for no less than $6M per for no less than 5 years starting this 12 months.

By the way in which, that will represent a report for a goaltender popping out of entry-level, with Sergei Bobrovsky’s two-year cope with Columbus for $5.625M per in 2013 nonetheless the usual. Second highest? Henrik Lundqvist’s one-year, $4.25M contract for 2007-08. Third? Matt Murray, coming off a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh, for $3.75M per for 3 years.

So, paying it ahead. Figuring $15.5M mixed for Fox and Shesterkin, plus $11.64M for Panarin, $6.5M for Kreider, $8.0M for Jacob Trouba, $3.0M for Ryan Lindgren and $3.642M for Goodrow, that quantities to simply underneath $48.29M for seven gamers. The Rangers would thus have round $34M if the cap goes to $82.5M to signal one other 15 gamers — together with a first- and second-line heart. There is not any room for one more $5.5M-$6.0M winger with second contracts arising for Lafreniere and Kakko. No room, then, for Buchnevich.

So who do the Rangers have who can be appropriate with Goodrow and match the necessities to relentlessly grind, strain the puck, work it down low and stifle the opposition? Maybe Morgan Barron? Could Tim Gettinger or Ty Ronning, each impending restricted free brokers due qualifying affords, be a match? Oh, after which Drury additionally has to fill the fourth line round Rooney. The free-agent market opens on July 28.

The Rangers have made a substantial monetary dedication to Goodrow. That was the easy part. Now administration should make the dedication to construct a unit across the new man and put him able through which he can take advantage of affect. If not, if the thought is to simply throw him onto a line with, say, Kreider and Filip Chytil, the Rangers would possibly simply as nicely have given the cash to me.

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