After a month with the Rangers and a losing record of 7-9-2, GM Zac Ryan brings the modern era’s most prolific goal scorer to the Big Apple.
Zac Ryan jumped into the deep end of the trade pool.
Ryan, only a month into his tenure as Rangers GM, has acquired Alexander Ovechkin! Given up for Ovechkin is 2020 18th overall pick Dawson Mercer, speedster and team veteran Chris Kreider, as well as prospect Matthew Knies, last draft’s 63rd overall pick.
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
-- Mercer is currently 2nd in the league in +/- at +22 and 5th in the league in shot percentage at 17.74%. With 25 points this season, mainly from the 3rd line, he has had great chemistry with Max Domi who is heartbroken with his departure.
-- Kreider is 5th in the league in hits at 122 and a key PK man for the Rangers. With 32 points this season, that is 57 points leaving the club in the trade.
-- Knies is a prospect from Phoenix, AZ, currently playing NCAA for the University of Minnesota. On his NCAA team, he is getting a point per game and will likely sign an entry-level contract next season.
-- Ovechkin comes to the Rangers with 39 points, but also with 20 goals, an area the team is aiming to improve.
New forward lines are a work in progress and will be set according to chemistry and performance. Ovechkin will start on the first line with Leon Draisaitl, but nothing is written in stone at this point. Ryan Dzingel is expected to get more ice time with the departure of Mercer and Ryan is expecting Domi to step up to fill the gap left with Kreider’s departure.
In addition to a big trade, Ryan has observed the locker room atmosphere and is starting fresh with the Rangers’ captaincy. Team veteran and team favorite Drew Doughty will take over as team captain and the assistant captains will be Leon Draisaitl and newly acquired star Alexander Ovechkin.
Ovechkin led the Maple Leafs as captain and will jump directly into a leadership role on his new team. Both being 25 and under, former assistant captains Mikhail Sergachev and Timo Meier were happy to relinquish assistant captain roles to superstar players like Ovechkin and Draisaitl, knowing they have the potential to take the reins in the future.