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Team Reset

Rangers look to become Cup contender with addition of Panarin

New York also acquired Kakko in draft, Trouba in trade after missing playoffs past two seasons

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the New York Rangers:

The New York Rangers are pushing to become a Stanley Cup contender after missing the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

The Rangers signed forward Artemi Panarin to a seven-year contract July 1. Panarin said he dreamed of playing for the Rangers and added "I'm home" when he visited Madison Square Garden the following day.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

"Any time you add a player of this caliber, everybody gets a little taller and their chest sticks out a little further," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "You have a little bit more swagger. If you're going to be a great team, you've got to think you're great. That doesn't mean you're arrogant, but you have to have a little bit of a swagger to you and this guy will certainly give us more swagger."

New York selected forward Kaapo Kakko with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and agreed to terms with him on an entry-level contract July 11.

"I would love to see him be a cornerstone for us," said Rangers president John Davidson, who was hired May 17 to replace Glen Sather. "He's going to show his way. He's going to be a really, really good player."

The Rangers also improved their defense by acquiring defensemen Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox in separate trades.

Video: Trouba discusses excitement, joining Rangers rebuild

Trouba was acquired from the Winnipeg Jets for defenseman Neal Pionk and the No. 20 pick in the 2019 draft (Ville Heinola) on June 17. Trouba, who was a restricted free agent, agreed to terms on a seven-year contract on July 19.  

Fox, who was acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes for two draft picks on April 30, agreed to terms on an entry-level contract May 2 after completing his junior season at Harvard University, where he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top men's player in NCAA Division I hockey.

"It's all falling into place," Davidson said.

Here is what the Rangers look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Artemi Panarin, F: The 27-year-old had an NHL career-high 87 points (28 goals, 59 points) in 79 regular-season games last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets and 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 10 playoff games. Panarin has 320 points (116 goals, 204 assists) in 322 NHL games with the Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks. … Jacob Trouba, D: The 25-year-old had an NHL career-high 50 points (eight goals, 42 assists) in 82 games last season. He has 179 points (42 goals, 137 assists) in 408 NHL games. … Kaapo Kakko, F: The 18-year-old scored 22 goals in 45 games for TPS of Liiga, Finland's top professional league, last season, the most by a player 18 or younger in the league's history. He also helped Finland win the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship, the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2019 IIHF World Championship. … Adam Fox, D: The 21-year-old had 48 points (nine goals, 39 assists) in 33 games with Harvard last season. 

Video: Rangers GM Jeff Gorton on signing Kakko

 

Key departures

Jimmy Vesey, F: Traded to the Buffalo Sabres on July 1 for a third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, the 26-year-old had an NHL career-high 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 81 games last season and 90 points (50 goals, 40 assists) in 240 games with the Rangers. … Neal Pionk, D: The 23-year-old had 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 73 games in 2018-19, his first full NHL season. … Fredrik Claesson, D: The 26-year-old became an unrestricted free agent after the Rangers did not extend him a qualifying offer. He had six points (two goals, four assists) in 37 games last season.

 

On the cusp

Vitali Kravtsov, F: The 19-year-old, who was the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, is projected as a top-nine forward this season after he agreed to terms on an entry-level contract May 3. He played for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the Kontinental Hockey League last season and led all players younger than 20 years old in goals (eight), assists (13) and points (21). … Libor Hajek, D: The 21-year-old scored one goal in five games with the Rangers last season before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury March 9. He had five assists in 58 games for Hartford of the American Hockey League.

Video: Rangers draft F Vitali Kravtsov No. 9

 

What they still need

To determine who is going to be their No. 2 center behind Mika Zibanejad, who led the Rangers with an NHL career-high 74 points (30 goals, 44 assists) in 82 games last season. The job is expected to be up for grabs in training camp among Filip Chytil, Ryan Strome, Lias Andersson and Brett Howden.

 

Fantasy focus

Panarin significantly improves the Rangers' overall fantasy outlook. He could achieve an NHL career high in goals on a line and power play with Zibanejad. The addition of Trouba gives the Rangers much more intrigue at the position. Fox could emerge as a fantasy-relevant option and compete with Trouba for a spot on the top power play. -- Rob Reese

Video: NYR@MIN: Zibanejad banks puck in off Dubnyk

 

Projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Chris Kreider -- Filip Chytil -- Kaapo Kakko

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Ryan Strome -- Vitali Kravtsov

Brendan Lemieux -- Brett Howden -- Jesper Fast

Brady Skjei -- Jacob Trouba

Marc Staal -- Adam Fox

Tony DeAngelo -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Henrik Lundqvist

Alexandar Georgiev

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