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Rangers GM: 'Nothing is off the table' this offseason

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

New York Rangers general manager and president Chris Drury appears to be keeping his options open after his club again fell short of lifting Lord Stanley's Mug.

"I do believe in our players individually. ... A lot of players had great seasons," Drury said Friday, according to the New York Post's Larry Brooks. "A number of them have been very good Rangers for a long time. Now it's the part of the job to figure out whether this group collectively can get us to where we want to be.

"Nothing is off the table," he added, according to Newsday's Colin Stephenson.

The Rangers won the Presidents' Trophy as the league's best regular-season team after posting a 55-23-4 record and a franchise-record 114 points in 2023-24. They made it to the conference finals for the second time in three years but were dispatched by the Florida Panthers in six games.

Star forwards Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin were particularly quiet in the Eastern Conference Final. Zibanejad mustered two assists against Florida, both coming in the Rangers' Game 5 loss, while Panarin had just one goal and three helpers.

When asked if he thought the pair needed more help to ease the offensive pressure or if they should find other ways to score in the postseason, Drury said, "It's a little bit of both," per USA Today's Vince Z. Mercogliano.

The player at the center of most of the trade speculation is Kaapo Kakko, who has yet to live up to his status as the 2019 second overall pick. The 23-year-old forward posted 13 goals and 19 points in 61 contests in the regular season - his fifth in the NHL - before adding two points in 15 playoff games.

Drury defended the pending restricted free agent Friday.

"We were talking about (Alexis Lafreniere) at this time last year and refuting rumors that I was trying to trade him. … Kaapo Kakko is still a young player. … We're going to continue to try and find everything we can do to help him reach his potential," Drury said.

Kakko spent the bulk of his ice time in the regular season on a line with Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, though the Finn never gelled with the star duo. Drury said he's looking at internal and external options to fill that right-wing slot alongside Zibanejad and Kreider.

Drury also stood up for much-maligned defenseman Jacob Trouba, who was recently criticized for his play and antics during the playoffs.

"Jacob's been an excellent captain and leader for us," he said, according to Stephenson. "Comes to play hard every night. ... He gives us everything he can every single night."

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