Mark 2023 down as a formative offseason for the New York Rangers, who are looking to stamp out any doubts next season after a disappointing First Round exit against the New Jersey Devils. While they’re already looking for a new head coach after firing Gerard Gallant, general manager Chris Drury has some offseason player personnel decisions to make, too, after going all in at this year’s trade deadline.
In his latest column for The Athletic, Arthur Staple listed forwards Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko, as well as defenseman Niko Mikkola, as the least likely returnees to the Rangers roster in 2023-24. All pending unrestricted free agents, they’ll likely be too rich for the Rangers’ blood, at least in terms of what they’ll offer to the team over the life of their next contracts.
As Staple concurs, Kane’s health is an obvious question mark moving forward, and Mikkola’s cap hit on his next deal will price the Rangers out of what they can afford for a depth defenseman, especially when offensive acumen from the blueline is an area of need on the third pair. Tarasenko is likely a pure cap casualty, with a strong showing down the stretch boosting his value on the open market.
- Speaking with CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal, pending Calgary Flames unrestricted free agent Milan Lucic hinted at a potential return to his hometown of Vancouver this offseason. While Calgary hasn’t given any indication of whether they’d like to retain Lucic, the veteran forward likely wouldn’t say no if the Canucks came calling after July 1. Lucic will be 35 by the time next season starts and had just seven goals and 19 points in 77 games with Calgary last season.
- Czech goaltender Michael Hrabal, one of the best prospects available in net for the 2023 NHL Draft, has committed to the University of Massachusetts for the 2023-24 season. The 6-foot-6 18-year-old posted a .920 save percentage in five appearances for Czechia at the World Juniors this year, also earning USHL All-Rookie Team honors with the Omaha Lancers (9-13-4, .908 SV%, 31 games played). Hrabal could hear his name called as early as the late first round.