The New York Rangers front office has taken an unprecedented step by releasing a letter from Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton directly to fans, seemingly admitting that they will be sellers at the upcoming trade deadline. The letter explains that though the team has been competitive for more than a decade, it is time now to move in a different direction. Most telling may be the admission that “familiar faces” will likely be lost:
As we approach the trade deadline later this month and into the summer, we will be focused on adding young, competitive players that combine speed, skill and character. This may mean we lose some familiar faces, guys we all care about and respect. While this is a part of the game, it’s never easy. Our promise to you is that our plans will be guided by our singular commitment: ensuring we are building the foundation for our next Stanley Cup contender.
The Rangers already made an unexpected move today when they waived Brendan Smith less than a year after re-signing him to a four-year deal, and have been rumored to be listening on core players like Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello all season. Still, for a team to come out and admit publicly that they are going to clean house while they sit just three points out of a playoff spot is unheard of in the NHL.
Now, all eyes will quickly turn to the roster players who have a good shot at being traded in the next few weeks. McDonagh and Zuccarello are two, but unrestricted free agents Rick Nash, Michael Graber, Nick Holden and David Desharnais all could be moved as well. Beyond that, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey and Brady Skjei are all restricted free agents this summer and no one seems untouchable at this moment.