The New York Rangers were expected to make some big roster moves on the first night of the 2015 NHL Draft. With limited cap space and a number of RFAs to re-sign, the Rangers had no choice but to start moving some pieces. But to everyone’s surprise, Friday night ended without a single deal or trade involving the Blueshirts. New York’s table remained quiet.
Saturday morning, however, saw a flurry of calls and negotiations between Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton and a handful of other organizations. In a trade that blindsided many, the Rangers sent Carl Hagelin and picks #59 and #179 to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Emerson Etem and pick #41.
A new chapter in my life starts now. I want to thank all the fans and the NYR organization for 4 great years
— Carl Hagelin (@CarlHagelin) June 28, 2015
Hagelin’s explosive speed was invaluable to the Rangers’ lineup, and he played significant minutes on the Rangers’ third line and on the penalty kill. But what New York has now lost in speed, they’ve gained in size. Etem, 23, is 6’1″ and 212 lbs. He was drafted 29th overall in the 2010 draft and has spent time with both the Ducks and the Norfolk Admirals (then-AHL). Etem had 5 goals and 5 assists in 45 regular season games last season, as well as 3 goals in the playoffs.
Minutes after trading Hagelin, the Rangers finalized the much-anticipated Cam Talbot trade–one that saw Talbot and pick #209 go to the Edmonton Oilers while picks #57, #79, and #184 came to the Rangers’ table. Goaltenders have been a hot commodity so far this offseason, and Edmonton was among five teams interested in acquiring Talbot. The Rangers took their time negotiating and most notably turned down an offer of two second-round picks for the 28-year-old goaltender; had Talbot been traded during the first round as originally expected, the Rangers likely would have gotten more in return.
Talbot proved this season that he has the skill to be a #1 goaltender, putting up a .926 SV% and 2.21 GAA in 36 games during Lundqvist’s injury. He was solid in net for the Rangers and can play the puck well outside the crease.
— Cam Talbot (@ctalbot33) June 28, 2015
Raanta, 26, served as the backup goalie for the Blackhawks for two seasons but was sent down to Rockford (AHL) when Chicago found themselves with three goaltenders and two spots; Scott Darling took Raanta’s place as Corey Crawford‘s backup for the second half of the 2014-15 season. Raanta put up a .936 SV% and 1.89 GAA in 14 NHL games last season, and he has a career save percentage of .912 and 2.41 GAA in 39 games with the Blackhawks. Raanta is also known for his quotability and upbeat locker room presence. He will now back up Henrik Lundqvist.
Additionally, the Rangers drafted seven players in rounds 2-7 of the draft on Saturday. Though they did not have a first-round pick, the Rangers still profited greatly:
Round 2: LW Ryan Gropp (pick #41)
Round 7: G Adam Huska (pick #184)
And the roster is still shifting. Veteran Martin St. Louis will not be returning to New York for the 2015-16 season. New Jersey and Pittsburgh are among those who reportedly have expressed interest in signing the 40-year-old winger.
The Rangers currently have $58.8 million invested in 15 players, which leaves $12.6 million left to fill eight spots. Hagelin entered this offseason as an RFA, but his asking price was too high for New York’s limited cap space. RFAs Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, along with newly aquired Etem are all expected to be re-signed, and seven free agents from the Wolf Pack have received qualifying offers as well.
With free agency beginning July 1, nothing is set in stone. Who knows what the New York Rangers will look like on opening night? Only time will tell.