The Rangers wanted an accelerated rebuild, and they put the pedal to the metal in the early days of the off-season. New York fast-tracked its makeover with a pair of in-their-prime veterans: Jacob Trouba, obtained in a trade with Winnipeg in mid-June, and Artemi Panarin, signed as the top free agent on the UFA market.
The solid, all-around Trouba stabilizes the defense corps, while the sublimely skilled Panarin was brought in to spark the offense. “It’s a perfect fit,” said Rangers president John Davidson on Panarin, who agreed to a seven-year, $81.5-million deal. “He’s only 27, he’s averaged (80 points) over the last four seasons, and he’s healthy. We know he wants to be here in New York, specifically with the Rangers.”
Once the NHL’s legal tampering period began following the draft, it...
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