The Rangers, as we all know, will have the first overall pick in this year's draft. Ours and everyone else's belief is that Alexis Lafreniere will be the selection. With ping-pong ball luck comes increased expectations and questions heading into the off-season.
I have run two blogs already with my proposed questions. A few have weighed in with their own, which have been added below. In the prism of the potential selection of Lafreniere, I have modified some of those questions slightly, noting where a change has been made because of earning the first overall pick. In addition, a couple of more were added to the mix due to this more than welcomed change of events.
President John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton conducted a zoom call with reporters Wednesday on the heels of JD appearing on MSG on Tuesday. No great revelations were made, though my main takeaway was the recognition from the loss to Carolina that more depth is desperately needed and that no shortcuts will be taken to accelerate the process to get this team to the level to be a champion. While not slow and steady, the plan is to build the squad to compete annually for the Stanley Cup, not just a one-time occurrence.
Davidson did not say who New York would pick. But it doesn't take a mensa student to figure out that the team is leaning Lafreniere, unless something remarkable happens. Gorton has exchanged texts with Lafreniere's agent and will be having conversations with them. Bob McKenzie reported Lafreniere plans to stick around and report to the team who drafts him when camps open in November.
Draft related update: Alexis Lafreniere will not be reporting to Rimouski’s training camp this fall and will not be going to Europe to play. He’s training in Boisbriand, plans to be drafted and report to his NHL team in November and play 20-21 in the NHL.
Here is my current list of 25 questions, noting as I said above, updates from prior based on the lottery. The Rangers have several pressing matters to be decided, which will help drive the future direction and hopefully path to the next level. If you have any additional questions, please let me know. If not, we will start to answer each one of these, though any breaking news will supersede covering these. As a reminder, don't provide your answers to all the questions in the comments, as the plan is to go one by one this offseason. The hope is to complete all these questions before the season starts again, likely after the first major blush of free agency and before salary arbitration.
1) Should Ryan Strome be brought back and if so, what kind of deal? (new - will getting Lafreniere result in New York moving a winger to get a 2c, making Strome expendable)
2) Has Jesper Fast played his last game as a Blueshirt?
3) Did Tony DeAngelo price himself out of the team's plans with his regular season or did his price tab dip enough due to his poor series versus Carolina? (update: does his hamstring injury during the play-in round need to be taken into consideration)
4) Is David Quinn the right coach for the team moving forward? How concerning is his inability to adjust in-game and between games? If no, who might be under consideration? (update: does he need to make the playoffs and/or win a round, due to winning the lottery and sweep at the hands of Carolina, to keep his job?)
5) Should we prepare the jersey raising for Henrik Lundqvist now? (update: did anything JD said convince you that he might be back next season?)
6) Can Filip Chytil be the second line center if Strome is not brought back? (update: is his future at center or wing?)
7) With Nils Lundkvist and K'Andre Miller in the pipeline, does New York have enough D to get the next level?
8) Will Vitali Kravtsov be in the Opening Night lineup?
9) Is Pavel Buchnevich now "expendable" due to Lafreniere coming on board or will the Rangers regret dealing him based on his untapped potential? (new)
10) Do the Rangers need to name a captain? If so, should that be Mika Zibanejad or Chris Kreider? Regardless of your view, did Kreider's comments in the Game 3 press conference sway your view?
11) Which is the true Brett Howden, the one that did little from October to March or the one we saw against Carolina?
12) Do you view the three-game sweep as a good learning experience, as mentioned by several including Davidson, for the neophytes on the team or is it too early to make that call?
13) Were you satisfied with the growth seen from Kappo Kakko and what's your realistic view as to what we should expect in years 2 and 3?
14) If Lundqvist is not back, do you want Alexandar Georgiev as Igor Shesterkin's 2020-21 backup or are you dealing him for additional assets? If bringing him back next year, are you signing him for more than one season?
15) Are you concerned with Artemiy Panarin's small late-season swoon? No goals in the last eight games before the pandemic and just one goal in the three-game sweep?
16) What is the identity of this Rangers' team? Do we know? Is one needed?
17) Can Brendan Lemiuex repeat how he played in Game 3 against Carolina or was that the aberration and not the norm?
18) What should be done with Lias Andersson? (from Tommy G on 8/7)
19) Who will be Jacob Trouba's partner next season if it's not Smith? (from Tommy G on 8/7)
20) How does the looming Expansion Draft affect the decision made for a particular signing/trade/buyout? (from Hedgedog 8/8)
21) If buying one player out, presuming that it's not Lundqvist for a variety of reasons, is it Staal or Smith, or do you not buyout anyone?
22) Presuming Lafreniere is the pick, on which line does he start the season? If New York makes no major acquisitions, what is your top-nine and fourth line? Is Morgan Barron on the team to start the season? (new)
23) Who do you want to target in free agency or via trade? (please be realistic in your proposals. That applies to who New York could get and what they would give up, so no 4-for-1 offers where the team grossly overpays. (new)
24) Does Gord Murphy end up on the coaching staff for 2020-21 or is someone else brought in to helm the defense and the penalty kill? (new)
25) When do you think New York contends for the Cup? 2021-22, 22-23 or other? (new)