Potential Replacements for Rumored New York Ranger Departures
On July 1, there will be absolute chaos and frenzy as all available free agents are free to sign deals with new teams.
The New York Rangers are in a position where they could lose some free agents. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Rangers are in a position where they could lose three key free agents.
As Brooks tweeted, "unless dramatic and unexpected change develops, Boyle, Stralman, Pouliot on way to free agency and exits from NY." With that in mind, the Rangers will need to find some replacements, and here are the ones they should target.
T. J. Galiardi
Player He Will Be Replacing: Brian Boyle
Bio: Age 26, 6'2", 195 lbs.
What Role Will He Fill?: Penalty Kill, Bottom-Six Center or Wing
T.J. Galiardi was not given a qualifying offer, so he will be a free agent on July 1. The ex-Calgary Flame was described by The Hockey News as a forward that "skates well and is always a bundle of energy. Has a projectable frame, as well as the ability to play both wing and center. Is good defensively and effective on the penalty kill."
This description suggests that the versatile and speedy forward can use his size to kill penalties and is competent in his own zone. He is also relatively young, and he is coming off a deal that last paid him just $1.5 million.
The Rangers should be able to swoop him up as a replacement for Boyle, and it will save them some cap space in the process. In 283 games he has tallied 104 points, so that makes him a decent bottom-six forward for the Rangers lineup.
Player He Will Be Replacing: Benoit Pouliot
Bio: Age 33, 6'1", 194 lbs.
What Role Will He Fill?: Power-Play Specialist, Scoring Winger
Losing Benoit Pouliot would be terrible for the Rangers because he is a skilled forward with size that plays well in both zones. There is no true fit on the market to replace everything Pouliot brought to the table for a reasonable price. Jussi Jokinen would be interesting, but he could earn a pretty penny.
Radim Vrbata wouldn't replace Pouliot defensively, but he could step in offensively and provide a punch on a line with Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard.
Like Pouliot, Vrbata has great hands and vision, and he plays a finesse game. He scored 20 goals last year—10 of them on the power play. He would be able to step into the lineup as a shooter, a skill that would mesh well with two playmakers like Zuccarello and Brassard. Given the number of big names on the market, Vrbata could be a cap-friendly option for Glen Sather and the Rangers.
Player He Will Be Replacing: Anton Stralman
Bio: Age 31, 6'2", 196 lbs.
What Role Will He Fill?: Power-Play Specialist, Second-Pairing Defender
Anton Stralman has been a great asset for the Rangers, and losing him would be a big blow to the defensive corps. Fortunately, the Blueshirts have a few options when it comes to replacing him. Although they have been rumored to be interested in Mark Fayne and Dan Boyle—both rumors via Larry Brooks of the New York Post—Christian Ehrhoff would be a good replacement.
Ehrhoff is a smart hockey player and an amazing skater, and he can handle upwards of 20 minutes a game. He is a skilled puck mover, he can quarterback a power play and he is competent in his own zone.
He also has a history of success playing under Alain Vigneault with the Vancouver Canucks, so Ehrhoff would be able to step right in to the Rangers' lineup without missing a beat. He might cost a bit more than Stralman, but he fills a variety of needs that the Rangers have.