Time to get back to work for the Rangers
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As the Stanley Cup playoffs have concluded and the New York Rangers had to watch another team hoist the cup, the hard work really begins.

The New York Rangers hired their new head coach David Quinn three weeks ago, and have been waiting for the playoffs to conclude before they could really do anything else. Now as the league has crowned a new Stanley Cup Champion, congratulations to the Washington Capitals, the team can get to work on the upcoming season.

The Rangers have a lot to do in order to be ready for training camp in September and the work officially began the minute the Stanley Cup Final ended. As the Rangers look to build the team back to its playoff form, the organization has plenty of issues to resolve prior to the beginning of training camp.

The first decision the Blueshirts will have to address is the status of defenseman Marc Staal. The team needs to look at what works better for their long-term future, buying Staal out or keeping him on the team. As has been discussed previously, Staal had a fine bounce-back year last season, but his contract for three more at $5.7 million is steep.

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The buyout period for all teams begins next Friday, June 15. The Rangers should have a good idea by then of how they want to go forward with the veteran defenseman.

NHL Entry Draft

The NHL Entry Draft is on June 22 and 23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. This is the part of the offseason that is the most important for the organization. The team holds 10 picks in this year’s draft which includes three in the first round. The Rangers will select ninth, 26th and 28th. The Rangers should be looking to move up in the draft if they plan on grabbing a player who could be NHL ready now to help the team.

The Buffalo Sabres hold the number one pick with the Carolina Hurricanes selecting at number two. The Rangers are unlikely to have an opportunity to move up that high, but they could have a chance to move up the fourth selection, currently held by the Ottawa Senators or maybe the fifth selection that the Arizona Coyotes possess. Moving up in the draft could give the Rangers their best chance to get this rebuilding process a boost.

They have draft picks and players that they might be willing to move to make this happen.

Free Agency

This year’s free agency is not a strong one, once the best player figures out his options. New York Islander John Tavares will become a free agent should he not re-sign with the Islanders on July 1. He could also have his rights traded by the team should they feel they have no chance of resigning him.

Tavares would look great in a Rangers sweater come opening day next season, but that possibility remains a long shot. The free agent market is not as strong as it has been in past years but some other potential signees could be Ilya Kovalchuk, John Carlson, Calvin de Haan and former Ranger, Rick Nash.

Trades

Another option to improve is by way of trades. The Rangers made a lot of noise at the trade deadline as they traded away some of their most popular and point producing players last February. Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Nick Holden, Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller were all moved. Speculation has been made that fan favorite Mats Zuccarello may be on the trading block as he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

As the NHL has now completed their season, the New York Rangers are ready to begin the process to get ready for camp in September. The team is filled with many questions and excited to see players such as Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil compete in their first full seasons as New York Rangers.

Time to go to work Rangerstown. There is plenty to do and only about three more months, just 90 days or so, before the start of the pre-season activities.

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A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of The New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes , pre /post game stats, and player quotes. Follow me at Facebook/RangerProud, Twitter @RangerProud & and @FrankCurto On Instagram, Ranger.proud