Despite not making a big splash, the New York Rangers made some moves at the start of the offseason that could help their roster, both now and down the road.
Here’s a look at how some of the new acquisitions could fit in with the Blueshirts.
Emerson Etem was acquired by the Rangers in exchange for Carl Hagelin at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. While he doesn’t have as much NHL experience or speed as Hagelin, he has a knack for playmaking.
The youngster racked up 10 points in 45 games with the Ducks last season. It was his first campaign without spending time at the AHL level. Look for Etem to slide into the third- or fourth-line right wing role, especially if Kevin Hayes needs to move back to center. First the Rangers must lock him up, as Etem remains a restricted free agent.
The 29-year-old Swede inked a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Rangers at the start of free agency. Stalberg had played with Nashville for two disappointing seasons, in which he only amassed 28 points in 95 total regular season games. Only 25 of those games were in 2014-15, as he missed extended time rehabbing injuries with the Predators’ AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.
In 2013-14, he posted an appalling minus-14 rating. The Predators and Stalberg didn’t fit like general manager David Poile, or Stalberg, thought.
So the forward will be looking for a new beginning with the Rangers. He does have plenty of winning experience, as he won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. Stalberg could see time on the third or fourth lines on the left wing. He’s a speedy forward with a fantastic shot, and he deserves another chance at the NHL level.
Following the trade that sent backup goalie Cam Talbot to the Edmonton Oilers, the Rangers acquired Antti Raanta from the Blackhawks in exchange for forward Ryan Haggerty. Raanta was the odd-man out in the goaltender battle in Chicago, as Scott Darling emerged as a fantastic backup to Corey Crawford late last year.
Raanta recorded a 7-4 record in 14 games for the Blackhawks in 2014-15 and will likely serve as a backup to Henrik Lundqvist this season. Hopefully, for the team’s sake, he won’t have to play extended time like Talbot did last season.
After spending last year with the Calgary Flames, Diaz is back with the Rangers for the second time.
He put up four points in 56 games in 2014-15, but he didn’t see much ice time as the Flames blue line was stocked with phenomenal talents like Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, and Dennis Wideman. Diaz should see that change in New York, but will likely spend time as the seventh defenseman.
The Rangers snagged Matt Lindblad from the Boston Bruins. He went undrafted and spent most of his time with their AHL affiliate in Providence. Lindblad posted 24 points in 55 games with Providence last year. He has played four games for the Bruins, scoring no goals and getting no assists.
The 25-year-old will likely spend most of his time in Hartford and the AHL, barring an injury.
The former Boston College Eagle center will likely not see much time in the NHL this season, given the Rangers’ logjam down the middle, but he could be a solid player in a pinch. Brian Gibbons scored 17 points in 41 games with the Penguins in 2013-14, but could not replicate those same numbers the next season in Columbus, with only five assists and no goals in 25 games.
Jayson Megna will probably help out the Wolf Pack this season as a center, but won’t crack the Rangers roster. He had one assist in 12 games with the Penguins last season. There are just too many centers for Megna to see time with the Blueshirts.
Hey look, another center.
Luke Adam only played three games with the Blue Jackets last season, notching zero points. However, back in 2011-12, he was an NHL regular, putting up 20 points in 52 games for the Buffalo Sabres. There might be a chance he could play in the NHL, but it will take some injuries to get him to New York.
Magnus Hellberg was an AHL All-Star last season with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Predators’ affiliate. However, he became the odd-man-out, with prospect Juuse Saros making the jump to North America, and Marek Mazanec developing properly. With Raanta already on the Rangers roster, Hellberg likely won’t see time at the NHL level unless there’s an injury to one or both of the main goalies.