Do the New York Rangers have a ‘Core’ of untouchable players?

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Now that the dust has settled with player news, exit interviews, and GM Chris Drury’s final season statement, one question remains outstanding. Do the Rangers have untouchable/untradeable players that Drury won’t even consider talking to other teams about? Is there a core group of players? Can you have a core without winning a Stanley Cup Championship?

Before anyone attempts to make their personnel list, remember one important factor; this organization has won one Stanley Cup in the last 84 years.

When Sam Rosen said, “And this one will last a lifetime,” I was 30 years old and hoping he was wrong. Yet here we are 30 years later and still trying to solve the puzzle that leads to another parade down the Canyon of Heroes.

Who Should The Rangers Protect?

The question of the decade is who the Rangers decide to hold on to. This will vary from the President of the New York Rangers to the GM, the coaching staff, and even the RagersTown fan base.

I don’t believe there is a core group in this hockey club because you need to have a core group that leads to a Stanley Cup, which hasn’t happened. It may hurt to read that, heck, it hurts to write this, especially with the incredible regular season plus the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs.

The ultimate goal set forth last May when Peter Laviolette was hired was not achieved.

Many factors come into play when the discussion of improving the team comes up. The Blueshirts have contracts enriched with no-trade and modified no-trade clauses and large salaries and are getting to the elder side with some of these massive deals.

To recap some of these “disasters,” here is a small sample of what I prefer to call New York we have a situation.

  • Artemi Panarin (32)- 2 years remaining with an AAV of $11.6 million – NTC
  • Mika Zibanejad (31)- 4 years remaining with an AAV of $8.5 million – NTC
  • Chris Kreider (32) – 3 years remaining with an AAV of $6.5 million – MNTC
  • Vincent Trocheck (30) – 4 years remaining with an AAV of $5.6 Million- NTC next year, then MNTC
  • Barclay Goodrow (31) – 3 years remaining with an AAV of $3.6 million- MNTC
  • Adam Fox (26) – 4 years remaining with an AAV of $9.5 million- NTC kicks in after the 2024-’25 season
  • Jacob Trouba (30)- 2 years remaining with an AAV of $8 million- MNTC

Regardless if any of these players are on or off your personal core list, moving on from them will be incredibly difficult.

My list of the clubs’ current core or players I would not trade is small,

Now that you have seen this small list and are probably saying, Frank, you are crazy, let me explain my thinking.

Shesterkin needs no reasoning. He is a former Vezina winner, and in the Eastern Conference Final against the Panthers, he allowed 12 goals in six games. He is ready to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals, but as it was with Henrik Lundqvist, he needs a team in front of him that improves as they advance in each round of the playoffs, something they could not achieve this season.

Lafreniere improved from the beginning of the season through the playoffs. He displayed the skill that the Rangers have been looking for since he was selected first overall in the 2020 NHL draft.

Trocheck Had a career season with 77 points. Along with Lafreniere and Artemi Panarin, he was the center of one of the best lines in the NHL. His success in the playoffs was due in part to his tenacity with and without the puck and his knack for getting under the skin of his opponents.

Fox had a somewhat tough regular and post-season. He missed significant time with a knee injury, which was reinjured in the first round of the playoffs against the Capitals. He hasn’t scored a playoff goal since 2022, but this is a former Norris Trophy winner. There is no path in which the Rangers will look to move him. He will continue to get better, and with an off-season here where he can rest, he should be 100% when training camp starts in September.

Difficulties Lie Ahead

How can I not choose Artemi Panarin? What about Mika or Kredier? All good questions, but the window is closing. Closing on winning a Stanley Cup and getting a great return if one of these players should decide to waive their NTC or MNTC.

Subtraction to add value is one of the hardest jobs a GM has. For the Club, the end game has been unsuccessful just a few years after a major rebuild.

The answer to this core question is hard. The four I believe are the so called core players of this club is an opinion I feel is valid, but surely can be questioned.

Who are the core players of this Rangers Team? Let me know in the comments, or hit me up on my X account at @RangerProud.

In this week's episode, we have on guest HockeyStatMiner to discuss NYR's Salary cap situation, potential moves and more.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  2. Many Directions, One Goal
  3. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  4. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  5. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown

One thought on “Do the New York Rangers have a ‘Core’ of untouchable players?”

  1. Interesting. 1995 the core was Messier, Graves, Leetch, and Richter.

    We do not have a tight group of four like that at the moment.

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