NYI:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

TBL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

CGY:

0

NYR:

0

07:30 ET

VAN:

0

NJD:

0

07:30 ET

ANA:

0

DAL:

0

08:30 ET

MIN:

0

ARI:

0

09:00 ET

Chris Drury mid-season grade (part 2 of 2)

Drury has arguably hit most of his moves out of the park, particularly his contract extensions. Shesterkin was signed to the most lucrative second contract for a goalie, and five months later, he’s the front runner for the Vezina. Say what you want about the Mika extension, but where else are you going to get a number one center in the prime of his career for an AAV for $8.5. I don’t think anyone disagrees with the Adam Fox or Ryan Lindgren extension. If you do, I’d love to know your reasoning. While most of these moves are still young and will continue to evolve, we can’t truly judge them until a few years down the line. Case in point, remember when Jacob Trouba’s contract was terrible six months ago? That’s aged pretty well as he’s had a resurgence this season, looking like the guy from Winnipeg Jeff Gorton engineered a trade for.

Ryan Reaves, Barclay Goodrow, and Dryden Hunt have been good additions as they’ve each contributed in different areas to this team. While Goodrow’s contract is a little long in the tooth, it’s not an immovable contract, especially once the cap begins to rise in a few years.

Patrick Nemeth, Libor Hajek, and Jared Tinordi have all ranged from somewhere between bad to atrocious, and there is no way around that. I, for one, don’t lose any sleep over the 6th defenseman, especially when there are two or three eventual replacements already in Hartford. Every fan base in the league has at least a few whipping boys that are unmercifully hated on, and this triumvirate is the Rangers.

It’s still too early to judge his first draft class, but first-rounder Brennan Othmann seems to be progressing nicely in Flint. Othman has 30 goals, and 26 assists in 37 games played this season. The Rangers may have gotten lucky with COVID ruining so many players pre-draft seasons last year as he may have slipped under the radar. It’s way too early to tell on Othmann or any of the others from the ’21 draft class, but the early indications are good.

It’s almost impossible to judge the what if’s, like the trade that never happened for Jack Eichel. It’s difficult to truly know who was or wasn’t involved in the discussions, so I can’t speculate on gossip and rumors. I’m just thrilled the saga is over.

Similar to the Eichel situation is the ongoing Vitaly Kravtsov soap opera. It’s impossible to truly know what was said to Kravtsov and led to him leaving the club. We know that Kravtsov demanded being on the team and refused to report to Hartford. I’ll never fault a General Manager for not giving in to a player’s absurd attempt at trying to strong-arm him. If he gave in and put Kravtsov on the team, a very ugly precedent would have been set early in his tenure as GM. Who knows what will happen after his season in the KHL concludes? Maybe he’ll be traded before then? Perhaps he’ll be back with the Rangers? I doubt it, but anything’s possible with this kid.

At the end of the day, the Rangers sit here on the eve of the All-Star game with a win percentage of .681, which is good for 7th in the league. This offseason, say what you want about Drury or his moves, but this team has a mental toughness where they are never out of any game. He hired the right coach and has seemed to push the right buttons on most of his decisions so far.

If I told you back in October that this 2021-2022 New York Rangers team would be tied for the fourth-most points in the entire league at the All-Star break, would you believe it? Would you be happy? They must have made some type of trade in between, no?

GRADE B +

Luca Perito

Born and raised in New York. I've lived in Arizona, Maryland, Delaware, and California. Love all sports. Twitter @elbigcalzonelp -- Instagram @thebigcalzone

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