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Team Reset

Rangers hire Quinn, looking to advance rebuild

Relying on Andersson, Chytil to help lead team back to playoffs

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 biggest change the New York Rangers made this offseason was behind their bench.

David Quinn, who was coach at Boston University for the past five seasons, was hired as Rangers coach May 23 and takes over for Alain Vigneault, who coached New York to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his first four seasons and is third in its history with 226 wins. Vigneault was fired April 7 after the Rangers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

Quinn's challenge, and the pressure on him, is different from what Vigneault faced. With the Rangers in rebuilding mode, Quinn's job will be to create the culture and foster the development that will help them become contenders again, but not necessarily this season.

New York pushed its rebuilding plan along this offseason by continuing to stock its system with prospects instead of diving deep into the free agent and trade markets.

In the 2018 NHL Draft, the Rangers used their three first-round picks to select forward Vitali Kravtsov (No. 9) and defensemen K'Andre Miller (No. 22) and Nils Lundkvist (No. 28). They also signed free agent forwards Michael Lindqvist and Ville Meskanen.

Here is what the Rangers look like today:

 

Key arrivals

David Quinn, coach: Quinn was 105-68-21 with Boston University from 2013-18, reaching the NCAA tournament the past four seasons, including the championship game in 2015. Before that, he was an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche in the 2012-13 season after three seasons as coach of Lake Erie in the American Hockey League. … Fredrik Claesson, D: The 25-year-old defenseman agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Rangers on July 1. Claesson, who had seven points (one goal, six assists) in 64 games with the Ottawa Senators last season, was the only unrestricted free agent New York added. … Michael Lindqvist, F: The 23-year-old forward agreed to terms with the Rangers on May 2 after he had 34 points (20 goals, 14 assists) in 33 games with Farjestad BK in the Swedish Hockey League last season. … Ville Meskanen, F: The 22-year-old signed with the Rangers on May 3. He had 44 points (24 goals, 20 assists) in 48 games with Ilves of Liiga, Finland's top league, last season, leading all players 22 and younger in goals and points during the regular season.

Video: Quinn talks excitement for coaching Rangers

 

Key departures

David Desharnais, F: Desharnais had 28 points (six goals, 22 assists) in 71 games last season. He will play for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the Kontinental Hockey League this season. … Ondrej Pavelec, G: Pavelec was 4-9-1 with a 3.05 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 19 games (12 starts) last season. He is an unrestricted free agent.

 

On the cusp

Lias Andersson, F: Selected by the Rangers with the No. 7 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Andersson, 19, could start the season in the NHL. He had two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games last season after being recalled from Hartford of the AHL on March 25. … Filip Chytil, F: The No. 21 pick in the 2017 draft, Chytil, 18, is expected to compete for a spot in the top-six forward group. Last season, Chytil had three points (one goal, two assists) in nine games with the Rangers and 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 46 games with Hartford of the AHL. … Libor Hajek, D: Acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller on Feb. 26, the 20-year-old defenseman played the past three seasons in the Western Hockey League. Selected by the Lightning in the second round (No. 37) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Hajek had 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 58 games for Saskatoon and Regina last season. … Brett Howden, F: Also acquired by the Rangers in the trade with the Lightning, Howden, who was selected in the first round (No. 27) in the 2016 NHL Draft, had 75 points (24 goals, 51 assists) in 49 games with Moose Jaw in the WHL last season. … Ryan Lindgren, D: Lindgren was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with Boston Bruins for Rick Nash on Feb. 25. The 20-year-old defenseman agreed to terms on an entry-level contract on March 20 after completing his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota, when he had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 35 games. Lindgren helped the United States win a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, getting one assist in seven games.

Video: WSH@NYR: Andersson scores first goal in NHL debut

 

What they still need

Time. The Rangers have goalie Henrik Lundqvist and enough veteran players who, if healthy, should keep them competitive and in the playoff race. However, this season is also about development and seeing how far along they are in this rebuild.

Video: Looking at the Rangers as their rebuild continues

 

Fantasy focus

In the midst of a rebuild, the Rangers don't have any players worth considering in the early rounds of a standard fantasy draft. That said, once you get past the 10th round, they have an array of options who can return value. If Lundqvist and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk slip in drafts because of injury concerns and struggles last season, each is still worth owning in all leagues having been a category specialist for much of his NHL career (Lundqvist in wins; Shattenkirk in power-play points). The Rangers defense remains a weak point, but their top line of center Mika Zibanejad, left wing Chris Kreider and right wing Pavel Buchnevich has breakout potential. For late rounds and keeper leagues, Chytil or Andersson will likely be New York's No. 2 center on a line with productive wing Mats Zuccarello (potential 2019 unrestricted free agent) and see time on the power play. -- Pete Jensen

 

Projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Filip Chytil -- Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey -- Kevin Hayes -- Jesper Fast

Ryan Spooner -- Lias Andersson -- Michael Lindqvist

Brady Skjei -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Marc Staal -- Neal Pionk

Brendan Smith -- Fredrik Claesson

Henrik Lundqvist

Alexandar Georgiev

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