Protected by Rangers
Starting with the good news. The New York Rangers don’t have to protect their young core. Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Adam Fox, Nils Lundqvist, K’Andre Miller, and Igor Shesterkin are exempt and don’t have to be protected. Depending on where you stand this next item is either good news or bad news. The Blueshirts will protect Alexandar Georgiev because Henrik Lundqvist‘s contract expires in 2021.
Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Jacob Trouba all have no-movement clauses and must be protected. At this time the New York Rangers don’t have any other players signed past 2021, so I had to fudge a little. In addition to Georgiev, I chose to protect Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Lindgren, Pavel Buchnevich, Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, and Filip Chytil. We can debate whether any of these restricted free agents (either 2020 or 2021) will be with the Blueshirts in16 months, so I went with the roster available.
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Among the players left unprotected are Brett Howden, Lias Andersson, and Libor Hajek. Andersson is the New York Rangers biggest enigma. At this point, if I were part of Seattle’s management, I’d avoid the young Swede at all costs. It was a tough call between protecting Lindgren and Hajek. Lindgren was kept due to the outstanding defense pair he and Adam Fox has become.
NYR loses Hajek
Seattle will select Hajek over Howden. Third/fourth line centers are abundant. Young NHL caliber defensemen of Hajek’s size and ability are not. It’s unfortunate, but with an already crowded group of talented young blueliners, Hajek is someone the New York Rangers can deem as expendable.
We hope you enjoyed this little diversion. EWB will do another mock after NHL play resumes.