The New York Rangers have made a few changes, but so far remain quiet this offseason as the real changes the team has made has been in their coaching staff. From new head coach David Quinn to assistant coaches Greg Brown and David Oliver, the team expects many of the changes to be within the organization as new coaches mean using players in different ways, which could see several players see big improvements.
Shayna Goldman of The Athletic (subscription required) breaks down some of the changes the coaching staff intends to implement this season and suggests the team could get boosts in performance from multiple players, targeting Kevin Hayes, Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei and Kevin Shattenkirk. Assuming Hayes isn’t traded this offseason as has been rumored, the team could see him take another step in his development.
Shifted into a shutdown role more recently, Hayes has been successful, but he has the skills to be a top offensive forward if needed, which could happen this season. Buchnevich is another offensive force who has been slowed by injuries, while the team has high expectations for Skjei and Shattenkirk (finally healthy) to return to form as top-four defenders.
- The Athletic’s Josh Yohe (subscription required) explains the reasoning behind the Pittsburgh Penguins’ recent signing of center Derek Grant. While there has been recent talk about the excessive amount of centers the team has, there have been even more after the team added Grant. Yet, Yohe writes that the Penguins feel the team needs as many centers as they can find for depth purposes and that Grant could find himself playing either center or wing, depending on how training camp shakes out. However, the possibility the team might still make a late offseason trade remains a legitimate possibility, suggesting that Derick Brassard could be moved still.
- The Athletic’s Nick Kelly (subscription required) writes that Pittsburgh Penguins Jake Guentzel is enjoying his offseason this year, while playing in Da Beauty League, because he got some extra time off when the Penguins were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs this past year. While he has no wish to get that extra time off again, Guentzel has spent his time this offseason in the weight room in hopes of becoming a more well-rounded player. He hopes to take his game to the next level after a full season in which he tallied 22 goals and 48 points last year. However, he scored just two goals in his final 20 games, suggesting he needs to work on his strength and conditioning to take that next step.
- Newsday’s Andrew Gross writes that the New York Islanders Joshua Ho-Sang should get a clean slate with a new coaching staff and management coming into the fold. Ho-Sang is expected to take on a full-time roll with the organization this year after he spent most of last season in the AHL due to issues with Ho-Sang’s attitude. The 22-year-old criticized management about how they were handling their development. He started the season in New York, posting solid numbers, including two goals and 12 points in 22 games, but was sent down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to work on other parts of his game and played 50 games there, but struggled at times, finishing with just eight goals.