The New York Rangers acquired a big-time prospect in Adam Fox, officially signaling the acceleration of their rebuild.
Over the last few seasons, Gorton has masterfully acquired 14 draft picks over the last two seasons, putting the Rangers in a unique position. They’ve since used some of those picks, along with using them to move up in the draft and acquire players like Fox.
It’s all a part of Gorton’s plan to help move this rebuild along over the next couple of years.
While picks like the second overall are probably safe, Gorton has already let us know that he is willing to start making moves for players to help get this rebuild going. It’s honestly a cause for celebration because of a common thought amongst fan bases that claim picks usually never end up skating. Trades like the Fox deal showcases Gorton’s sense of urgency.
Fox represents the perfect player not only due to his talent, but thanks to his age and contract status. He will be a Ranger on an entry-level deal at 21-years-old if he signs before the season. Should he go back to Harvard, he can come over at 22, which matches the Rangers plan of acquiring younger skill guys on their roster. The difference here is how Fox is probably ready to hit the NHL ice over the likes of Nils Lundkvist, Joey Keane and K’Andre Miller.
The Rangers appear ready to get aggressive and stun some people around the league with deals like this one. Top prospects won’t always be available like Fox was, but the deals the Rangers need to look for to move this process along.
There are going to be some big-time restricted free agents on the market this summer the Rangers could show interest in. They might not have the picks to submit an offer sheet for a player, but who is to say that won’t stop them from calling a team to try to negotiate a deal for the rights to that player?
Prying a Mitch Marner away from Toronto or a Jacob Trouba from Winnipeg will be extremely tough, and the package will be pretty overwhelming, but it doesn’t hurt to at least make a call to gauge price tags.
Along with a big RFA class this year, the Rangers are rumored to be interested in some of the bigger free agents like Artemi Panarin. If Gorton did not feel this team was ready to compete in the next couple seasons, you wouldn’t see these rumors swirl up as fast as they are.
It only makes sense for New York with the progression of their younger players and the impact level of talent they will acquire in the draft. There’s a legitimate argument to be made how if they didn’t get the second overall pick, these free agent rumors might be laughable.
But that is not the situation the Rangers find themselves in and they are in a position to be as creative as they want. All of it was made possible thanks to the moves Jeff Gorton made after announcing the team was heading into the rebuilding mode. They couldn’t make a trade like the Fox one if they didn’t stockpile all of these draft picks, a usually rare past experience.
Rebuilding is tough, especially when you move fan-favorites, but the Rangers are about to hit the part of the rebuild when you can start to get excited. The players still have to develop, but you can at least see the direction the Blueshirts are trying to go in.