6/22/18 | 3:38PM: Jeff Gorton said on Thursday, "for anybody that would be skeptical of a rebuild, all you have to do is look at the last few months and the trade deadline and some of the things we have done. I think it's pretty obvious we are trying to accumulate young players and assets and trying to get better and give these players opportunity."
He added that the Rangers won't be a team of 18-19-20 year olds and that "we need to have the necessary players on our team that can help these guys learn the game and help us do everything we can to win every night. I think that is pretty clear where we are at."
Larry Brooks wrote that the Rangers will "jump in" if a "price-is-right" player is available but they are not trading away a "boatload of draft picks and prospects."
6/21/18 | 1:02PM: Darren Dreger said that the mandate from Jeff Gorton and Rangers management is "to be patient" and to assess what they have within the organization in terms of youth. (TSN)
He noted that players like Tavares, Kovalchuk and Karlsson are not the "right fit for the direction of the New York Rangers right now. They are going to vow to be patient." (TSN)
12:34PM: Larry Brooks tweets that the Rangers would be open to signing Kovalchuk as a UFA but "are not" packaging 4-5 assets for a player that is one-year away from being a UFA.
11:59AM: Darren Dreger tweets that he doesn't see the Rangers going after the big UFA or potential trade targets such as John Tavares, Artemi Panarin, Ilya Kovalchuk or Erik Karlsson.
Dreger says that the Rangers are seeking younger assets and are planning to stay on their current course. (TSN)
James Dolan said in April that the Rangers want to put themselves in position to get a difference maker.
Adam Rotter: I think that the Rangers would gladly take any of those players, but only on their terms. That is reportedly what happened with Kevin Shattenkirk last year. The Rangers had interest, but only to a point a compromise was made and Shattenkirk joined the Rangers. He did that because of his past connections to the team and the area, something that none of the above players really have. If Ilya Kovalchuk wants to join the Rangers, he will, but it would almost certainly be for less money than he could get somewhere else and fewer years.
In terms of staying the course, that isn't very surprising. They were up front about wanting to get younger and they hired a coach with a great track record as a teacher and developer.They can still make moves and acquire new players, it's just that those players will be more like Mika Zibanejad, younger and a few years from free agency, as opposed to someone like Panarin or Karlsson that would cost a lot both in assets and cap space. Kovalchuk was always the player that, to me, made the most sense. He only cost money, would have provided a scoring threat and, hopefully, an example to the younger players. Instead he is likely going in another direction and the Rangers will stay with their plan of developing their own players and acquiring young, talented and under control players.