That was a heck of a run by the New York Rangers. They are one of the most balanced teams in the Eastern conference. But that’s the East. If you’re Glenn Sather and the Rangers brass you have to compare your team to the elite teams in the league, not in the East. And if you do that, while you made it all the way to the final, you have to own that you still are just an ok team.
So what can they do to get better? This team is now without their 1st round picks in the next 2 drafts thanks to the Martin St.Louis trade. Well I guess the first thing is Brad Richards, they’re likely to announce today that they’re buying him out, but I’m not sold on the fact that Richards should be the guy bought out.
Does anyone else notice that Rick Nash is awful? Well…awful for 7.8 mil per. So he’s 1.2 more a season than Richards, though has 2 less years than Richards does. They need to rid themselves of both these deals. But what if Richards is willing to go to a team that may want him and Nash says no to going anywhere? They need to take as much time as they can figuring this out because a team like the Rangers don’t have any problems drawing UFA’s but they need the cap space to do so.
Now if they could find the cap space, Paul Stastny would be an awesome add for this team. Stastny proved himself in the West this season, especially in the playoffs. Nathan MacKinnon got a lot of the glory but it was Stastny who was driving that bus. He’s the 1st line center this team really needs.
They also could look into Joe Thornton or Jason Spezza and see if either of them are interested in Broadway. I have my doubts that Thornton would be. I believe he’ll want to go to a more quiet market where he won’t face the pressure (Columbus, Florida, the only one he might like is Chicago because he wouldn’t have to be “the guy”). Spezza is much mroe likely, but the Sens have said they don’t want to see Spezza a lot which means they want to deal him out West.
There is another center out there who was reported to be available before the end of the regular season and that was Eric Staal. Right now all the attention is on Kesler, Thornton and Spezza but it was said that the Canes will look to shed salary this summer and it could mean that Eric Staal gets dealt. I believe without a doubt he would waive to play with the Rangers, play with another brother, play with a team with a lot of good young talent and a team that just won the East.
Then to replace Nash I don’t believe they need to go after a big flashy replacement. Carl Hagelin proved during this playoff run that he is capable of being a top 6 guy, they have J.T. Miller who was already on the cusp all season ready to step in next year, and Chris Kreider is on the verge of passing Nash as a player.
If they really want to get rid of Rick Nash the best way might be to eat 2 mil of his salary. That would open up a lot more spots for him to play and that he would be willing to go to. I would guess Ken Hitchcock would be interested in coaching him again, but the Blues can’t take on 7.8 per. 5.8? Maybe. But then does that make sense for the Rangers? Maybe the Blues send you Magnus Paajarvi in return, who would fill Benoit Pouliot’s spot when he walks on July 1st. Just a thought.
But most of this is speculation on my part. The point of this all is that when teams go on these runs they tend to get complacent and refuse to acknowledge who they really are. If the Rangers are honest about it, they’ll admit that they’re good but they’re still far from winning a Cup. The good news is though that they do have a window and a lot of key pieces in place and trade chips to get back to that point and actually compete. It’ll be interesting to watch what they do.
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