For Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, Tyler Motte and Justin Braun they will have a decision to make this offseason. All four joined the New York Rangers via a trade at the NHL Trade Deadline and all are slated to be unrestricted free agents come July 13 when the market opens.
The Rangers too will have some decisions to make regarding who will be worth bringing back for next season. New York benefited quite a bit from their midseason acquisitions during their surprise postseason run that took them to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final before they were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Both Copp and Vatrano were among the top 10 skaters in scoring during the playoffs. Copp had 14 points (six goals, eight assists) during New York’s 20-game playoff run and Vatrano finished with 13 points (five goals, eight assists).
“He was great for us. He came in here and did a great job and played excellent hockey,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said. “He had six goals in the playoffs and he’s out there and battled hard and did a lot of good things for us. He’s definitely played a top-six (role) for us and usually if you can play a top=six for a team that goes to the conference final you can play a top-six in most places.
“I liked what he’d done. … He did his job and we’ll see where it goes.”
The Rangers forward said that he had enjoyed his time in New York and felt it ended up being a really good fit for him. Now looking forward Copp said he was taking his time in making a decision on his future.
Copp joked that he had told his agent to “go kick rocks” and that he wasn’t going to talk to him for a while after the Rangers crushing Game 6 loss.
“My first thoughts are about how I can get better as a player and what I need to do this summer. All the things that go along with that,” Copp said. “I think that’s really where my mind is focused for right now. But over the next couple of weeks, just kind of evaluate and basically hear from (Gallant) and (Rangers general manager Chris Drury) where they see me long term. Then go from there. Long-term not only for next year, but hopefully four or five years.
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“How they see me in the room in terms of the leadership group and all of those things. A lot to take in and hear and then just make the best available decision.”
Copp reiterated his enjoyment of his time in New York, but that he wasn’t married to any decision at the moment. Vatrano had a similar thought process, saying that he had enjoyed his time in New York and that “it would be great to be back, but that’s stuff that hasn’t even been talked about.”