NEW YORK – It feels like an eternity since the New York Rangers played in these Stanley Cup playoffs. Since then we have heard our share of rumors, blogs, posts whatever they may be about what the strategy is for the Rangers this summer.
So far in what we know is they are ready to retool, that according to multiple reports. They are not looking to rebuild and why should they when indeed the window is still open. Yes despite a lot of people thinking it is not, it is indeed still opened. The Rangers although within a tight salary cap situation are in a good place. They have pieces they can move to help retool the team.
We have seen everyone break down the “what ifs” and scenarios on what can make this team better going forward. As we get closer to this years draft it seems more evident there is a major plan ready to roll out by general manager Jeff Gorton, who, will be working his first draft as team’s general manager.
All along going into this off-season that if the Rangers wanted to deepen this team they would have to get creative. It seems they are getting creative because Gorton has made it clear with the exception of a handful of players the team is open for business. Over the last three years in head coach Alain Vigneault’s tenure we have seen strong aspects of the Rangers game. Go back two years ago when they made a Stanley Cup run that came up short in the finals against the Kings (sorry). That team was firing on all cylinders. Power play was effective, penalty was effective, they were a shut down teams.
Like all teams with wear and tear things break down and we saw a dramatic break down this year through various parts of the season. So now, Gorton is at the controls who seems to be ambitious and ready to rock to make this team a cup contender once more. He was given the keys to a beautiful car now he needs to maintain it.
The biggest names we will continue to hear leading up to the draft is Rick Nash. He has a $7.8 million cap hit and would also get the best return possible. In my opinion, they should have done that going into this past season to deepen the team. The return for Nash could be high, but in reality what this team needs for Nash is quality second and third line players that can contribute in different areas. I look at it the Billy Beane way (Oakland Athletics GM) where if you can get two or three guys to replace the value of Nash. You don’t trade a stud for a stud, you get numerous good players to balance your top six.
There have been reports that Derek Stepan who may be traded come draft day as well and he like Nash can get a good return to bolster the bottom of the line-up and possibly replenish the farm system as well. Another player who can get a good return is the puzzling Chris Kreider. I say that because there are flashes that show he can be a deadly weapon on this team and then there is a stretch of games where he becomes invisible. Personally, I think he needs a change of scenery.
What the Rangers are most likely to address is the blue line who had a disappointing year with the exception of Keith Yandle, Kevin Klein (when healthy) and that’s about it. Will Dan Girardi and Marc Staal be Rangers in a few weeks? Only time will tell. See the thing about the Rangers they are very secretive to the way they operate. You don’t get much out of the front office as you would hear or see from other teams. They play things close to the vest which can be good and bad. Good to where they can pull off a sneaky move and get high praise and bad because then it puts the Rangers faithful in an uproar when they don’t know what’s going on.
That’s the one thing you have to love about the Rangers fans, they want to know every minute of what is going on with this team and it shows the passion they have for their team. Sometimes it does get crazy with the demands but listen it balances out.
The next two weeks is going to be a rollercoaster of emotions for the Rangers organization and for the fans as well. If you ask me I think this is going to be a really good summer for this team that’s ready to retool and come back stronger for next season.