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.