There’s been a recurring theme in a lot of my articles this offseason, as well as many articles from other Rangers blogs and writers; the team desperately needs to shed some cap space. There’s not a lot of room to maneuver and fix the problems they have, and the big contracts to ineffective players will hurt the Rangers both long and short term.
On top of that, the team finally needs to undergo a youth movement. In recent memory, the team has turned to veterans and experienced players to try and propel them to a championship, trading draft picks for rentals and forgoing an infusion of youthful talent in name of a “winning pedigree” among the players. Guys like Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Dan Boyle have all been counted on to play really big roles, and it hasn’t always worked.
But this year has shown one important thing; the young talent on this team is ready for a prominent role. Chris Kreider had another 20 goal season, JT Miller posted career highs in all offensive categories, Derek Stepan hit the 20 goal plateau for the first time, and Jesper Fast took a big step up offensively, recording 30 points. On defense, Dylan McIlrath impressed with his improved skating and his ability to handle tough NHL competition, and Brady Skjei blew people away with his performance in the playoffs despite playing just seven regular season games. Read the rest of this entry
The Rangers season came to a disappointing close, falling in the first round to the Pittsburgh Penguin in just five games. This is the earliest they were eliminated since 2011. The bad part is they were completely outclassed, losing by a combined score of 11-3 in the last two games, 19-6 in their four losses, and 21-10 for the series.
Pittsburgh had their way on the special team units, scoring on 8 of 21 power plays for a 38% success rate, while the Rangers were 2 of 19, just over 10%.
The Penguins were the better team. They had energy and execution, while the Rangers didn’t. This did not come as a surprise because Pittsburgh played very good hockey the second half of the season, while the Rangers have been inconsistent since Thanksgiving. The series was a combination of losing to a better team and the Rangers tank being empty. Read the rest of this entry
For the first time ever, Eric Staal will be playing against the team that he spent 12 years in his return to Raleigh, this time in a different sweater. The Rangers (43-24-9) can clinch their sixth consecutive playoff appearance with a regulation or overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes (33-28-16), and Eric Staal will be a part of it.
It was a tough transition for the former Hurricanes’ captain, who had to learn a new system, move away from his family for a brief time, and fit into a new locker room with new teammates. But Staal has looked increasingly more comfortable as a Ranger, and is coming off of his best game with the team. Now he’s looking forward to taking part in the playoffs again, and will be looking to help his team clinch their berth tonight.
The Rangers have rebounded well since the 4-1 debacle of a loss at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, going 3-0-1 in their last four games and 16-7-3 since February 4. The Penguins are just one point behind the Rangers, so a regulation or overtime win is needed to officially punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After the overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, New York is just 13-10-4 against Metropolitan opponents, but that includes a 3-0-0 mark against the Hurricanes. Read the rest of this entry
For the New York Rangers, defense is and has been the name of the game. Whether it was the blue-collar hockey played under John Tortorella, or the faster, speed game employed by Alain Vigneault, defensemen have been crucial to the team’s performance and success.
That reflects in the team’s salary cap as well, where a large portion of the available money is spent towards creating potentially a top-three defense in the entire league. With players like Ryan McDonagh, Keith Yandle, Marc Staal and Dan Boyle populating the defensive core of the Rangers, they form a very versatile and effective group that can shutdown anybody in the league, as well as generate some offense too.
But having so many talented defenseman on one team means that they all get paid for their high level of talent. This also stretched into goaltending, as the Rangers have arguably the best goalie in the NHL in Henrik Lundqvist. On defense alone, the Rangers have $26.75 million invested in their seven defensemen, with Dan Girardi ($5.5) and Marc Staal ($5.7) making the most amount of money. Add in Henrik Lundqvist and the new backup, Antti Raanta, and the Rangers have $36 million going towards the back end. That’s more than half of the allotted salary cap, without spending a dime on the 12 forwards that play every game. Read the rest of this entry