Offseason Moves Prepare Rangers for Another Stanley Cup Run


The addition of Vincent Trocheck has the Rangers primed for another deep playoff run. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Allie Coppola , Staff Writer

It was a busy offseason for New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury, who made a number of trades and signings after the Rangers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their playoff journey brought them to the Eastern Conference Final before they fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games, highlighting the missing pieces that Drury attempted to fill this past summer. Former Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck headlines Drury’s busy summer, as well as some more recent moves made as training camp gets underway. 

On July 14, the Rangers signed Trocheck to a seven-year contract valued above $39 million, earning him about five and a half million dollars per year. With 51 points in 81 games last season, he slots in perfectly as a second-line center to fill the loss of Ryan Strome to free agency. He’ll be playing alongside superstar Artemi Panarin, which will without a doubt increase his production for the team. It’s worth noting that Trocheck was an integral part of the Hurricanes’ playoff run, where they lost to the Rangers in the second round. With 10 points in 14 games, he’s a proven playoff competitor and a perfect addition as the Rangers look to make a deep run this season. 

More signings by the Rangers included Jaroslav Halak, who will slot in nicely as a veteran backup goalie, and veteran center Ryan Carpenter who will most likely take shape on the third or fourth line. He is not known for his scoring, but his physical presence will be a compliment to the Rangers’ evolving style of play. 

Of players whose contracts expired at the end of the season, Drury re-signed a number of them while also letting some go to free agency. Among those returning are Kaapo Kakko, who signed a two-year contract in July, and Sammy Blais, Julien Gauthier, Libor Hajek and Tim Gettinger, all of whom re-signed for one year. Blais had a promising first impression with the Rangers before tearing his ACL, and will look to continue his production in the 2023-24 season. 

Those lost to free agency include Ryan Strome, Frank Vatrano, Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte and Kevin Rooney. Vatrano, Copp and Motte were all acquired at last year’s trade deadline and proved to be productive during the playoff run, but were looking for more money than the Rangers wanted to pay them. Vatrano and Strome headed off to the Anaheim Ducks, whose young core looks to be promising in the upcoming seasons. Patrik Nemeth also departed the Rangers via trade to the Arizona Coyotes, in return for defenseman Ty Emberson who is unlikely to make the Rangers’ roster. 

To continue Drury’s busy offseason, he traded defenseman Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars for conditional first and fourth round draft picks in 2023. Considering Lundkvist’s lackluster first few games with the Rangers and other promising prospects at the same position, this move by Drury was exceptional. The Rangers’ defensive core really only has one opening, which is expected to be filled by Zac Jones or another prospect that has yet to see NHL playing time. 

The team’s final major offseason move was naming defenseman Jacob Trouba as the 28th captain in franchise history. The decision was met with some displeasure by fans, but it was confirmed that the players voted for Trouba, who is known to be one of the leaders in the locker room. He looks to lead the team to its first Stanley Cup since 1994. With the addition of Trocheck and well-developed prospects, this is the main goal for the Rangers after their conference final loss.