The cap situation for the Rangers has limited them for the most part this summer. Accordingly, Larry Brooks of the New York Post opines that the best chance they have to take a step forward next season might be to take a step back out of the gate and give their young trio of Alexis Lafreniere (still an unsigned restricted free agent), Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil extended looks in offensive roles. With a forward group that skews older otherwise, New York’s best chance for offensive growth might very well be those three younger options taking a step forward in their development. The Rangers are certainly in win-now mode which might make it seem counter-intuitive to potentially have some early struggles while evaluating those players in those roles but if they can hit another gear offensively, they could certainly be dangerous offensively when the playoffs come around.
Elsewhere in the East:
- The Sabres have reached a new ECHL affiliation agreement for next season as Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reports that Buffalo will be partnered up with Jacksonville, formerly an affiliate of the Rangers. Buffalo had been with Cincinnati since 2017 but needed a new one when the Rangers signed with that franchise; this move basically makes it a trade of affiliates. A press conference is scheduled for Monday to make it official.
- Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov returned to the ice on Friday as he works his way back from ACL surgery, notes team reporter Walt Ruff. The 23-year-old made his first All-Star appearance last season while picking up 23 goals and 32 assists in 64 games before suffering the injury in March. At the time, the procedure carried a recovery of six to nine months; October (when the season starts) is near the short end of that timeline so it’s not a guarantee that Svechnikov will be ready on opening night.