NY Rangers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider and More

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 26, 2019

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin, left, of Russia, works against Boston Bruins forward forward Danton Heinen during Game 4 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, May 2, 2019. The Bruins won 4-1. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Paul Vernon/Associated Press

Brighter days shouldn't be too far off for the rebuilding New York Rangers after drafting potential superstar forward Kaapo Kakko second overall.

Right wing Vitali Kravtsov, the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft who played with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL last year, will also be making his NHL debut. New York also returns 19-year-old center Filip Chytil from its 2018-19 roster.

The Blueshirts' offense could be potent for many years if the young players' potential comes to fruition, and the defense should take a step forward after New York traded for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba.

New York needs to to continue reshaping its roster, though, and here's a look at the latest on the Rangers.


Artemi Panarin to Florida or New York?

Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic reported the Rangers are meeting with Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin but the Florida Panthers might have the edge:

Rick Carpiniello @RickCarpiniello

Hearing Rangers have a meeting scheduled with Panarin this week (#NYR president John Davidson, who knows him well from Columbus will be in on it) but it remains possible, if not probable, Panarin and Bobrovsky sign with FLA.

The 27-year-old has scored 27 or more goals in each of his four NHL seasons. He's played two years for the Chicago Blackhawks and two with the Blue Jackets, scoring 28 goals and notching 59 assists for Columbus last year. He finished tied for 17th in the NHL in points.

Panarin would certainly give a Rangers offense that finished 22nd in goals scored a boost. The issue is his reported interest in the Panthers, which isn't just emanating from Carpiniello.

Bob McKenzie said the Panthers want to sign Panarin and teammate Sergei Bobrovsky, and David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period noted the New York Islanders are in on Panarin as well.

Panarin could be an excellent fit at Madison Square Garden, but there's clearly no guarantee it will happen.


Where Is Chris Kreider Going?

Chris Kreider's eight-season career with the New York Rangers could be coming to an end this summer.

Per Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston last Friday, the Boston Bruins have interest in the former Boston College star, who was born in Boxford, Massachusetts.

Kreider has scored 133 regular-season goals with the Blueshirts, including tying a career-high with 28 last season. Adding him to the mix would be a prudent move for a Bruins team that finished an above-average 11th in scoring last year.

As for Kreider, the Rangers could benefit from moving his $4.625 million salary, per CapFriendly.com, to make room for someone like Panarin.

However, Ian Fleming of Hockey Graphs and NHL Numbers made the case for Kreider at a lower salary:

Ian Fleming @imfleming16

If it's one or the other, and Kreider runs at $4.5m less annually than Panarin, it's Kreider every day and twice on Sunday for me. https://t.co/JuPgIVKn38 https://t.co/tNPv4s3azL

David Shapiro of Blue Seat Blogs also wrote a compelling case for Kreider, making the following remarks in part:

"From what Ian Fleming posted above, Kreider is also the more well-rounded player. In terms of offensive drivers, Kreider is a small step below Panarin, which again is expected. However Kreider is a significant impact on defense, whereas Panarin is about league average. That’s very important for a developing team that will struggle on the defensive side of things as the kids grow."

Larry Brooks of the New York Post speculated Thursday that Kreider may not be part of the rebuild, however. Of note, he cited the money the player may command after his deal runs out after this season.

"It is not about next year for Kreider," Brooks wrote. "It is about the six or seven that will follow at what surely will be for the ballpark price of $6.75 million per, perhaps higher."

Kreider would be 35 years old after a hypothetical seven-year deal. However, if given the choice, Brooks said he would take Kreider.

He characterized the Rangers' Kreider vs. Panarin decision as follows:

"The most critical, far-reaching decision is this as the unrestricted free-agent interview window opens ahead of July 1: Attempt to extend Chris Kreider for somewhere around $6.75 million per for six years, or attempt to sign Artemi Panarin for probably at least $11.5 million per for seven years.

"Or, alternately, neither, which would mean trading Kreider and declining to make the 27-year-old (28 in October) impending free-agent winger the second- or third-highest-paid player in the league."

The team has far more to do than pick between those two players, but this is clearly the most critical offseason choice for the Rangers front office at this juncture.


Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres?

Jimmy Vesey could be making his way up the New York State Thruway to Western New York.

Per Darren Dreger of TSN (h/t Brayton Wilson of WGR 550), the Buffalo Sabres are "one of four or five teams that I'm told that remain fairly interested" in the 26-year-old, who amassed 17 goals and 18 assists last season.

Dreger provided more information, including notes on Sabres forward Alex Nylander:

"Whether or not [Nylander would] be included in the Vesey deal, the sense I got from my Rangers sources last night was that, I don't want to oversell Buffalo's involvement in a trade negotiation with the New York Rangers, Buffalo is one of the teams that is interested in Jimmy Vesey. I didn't get the sense that Nylander had to be involved in that trade, but when I asked about him, I was told that he could be on the move."

Nylander, 21, was the eighth overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft and has scored three goals in 19 career games over three seasons.

Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post explained why the Rangers would move Vesey, noting that sending his $2.275 million salary (and other players' salaries) elsewhere could help the team land another "big-ticket player" after trading for Trouba.

Plus, Vesey could be a better fit on a Sabres team in win-now mode, even if it hasn't made the playoffs since 2011. A 10-game win streak gave Buffalo a 17-6-2 record before a tailspin left them with one of the league's worst records.

The team's core is talented and young, led by 22-year-old Jack Eichel, and another offseason and further development could lead to brighter days. Vesey, who scored more goals than all but three Sabres last season, can help that charge.