Thursday, June 3, 2010
Offseason Profile: New York Rangers
It could of been the fact that Mark Messier was on Versus last night, or perhaps that I read an article last night from the NY Daily news remembering the day ten years ago when Glen Sather was named GM in New York. Whatever the reason, I felt the need to start our off-season profiles with the team that was a shootout win away from making the playoffs, and eliminating the eventual Eastern Conference Champions from playoff contention.
As is always the case with the NY Rangers, they will be active on July 1st. It's just their nature as they will be unable to contain themselves from squandering MSG money on big name players. Last season it was Marian Gaborik, who when healthy, is one of the best snipers in the game. Who will it be this year? Marleau, Whitney, Kovalchuk?
Gaborik $7.5M till 2014
Dubinsky $1.8M RFA next season
Drury $7.05M till 2012
Callahan $2.3M RFA next season
Avery $1.9M till 2012
Voros $1M UFA next season
Anisimov $822k RFA next season
Boyle $525k RFA next season
Brashear $1.4M UFA next season
At first glance the Rangers really only have one first line forward(Gaborik) as it stands right now. Dubinsky and Callahan are solid players, that most teams would want in a trade if the Rangers were going to acquire another front line player, specifically a center. If they wanted to dump a bad salary, ex. Redden, Drury, Rozsival, they would have to include one of the two.
Sean Avery seems to be somewhat of a spark plug for the Rangers, but do they really need him and Donald Brashear eating up all that money? In all likelihood the Rangers will re-sign restricted free agents Prust and Christensen. I think Anisimov could be a pleasant surprise for them next year and add more offense.
The Rangers also are slowly building a stable full of promising prospects. According to the Hockey News Future Watch, the NY Rangers have three of the Top 25 prospects in the league. Ironically enough, all three of them have played center, with Evgeny Grachev moving to wing. Derek Stepan is a 19 year old center that scouts describe as a playmaker in the Craig Janney mold. Chris Kreider was their #1 pick last season, and is considered the fastest player from that draft.
Redden $6.5M till 2014
Rozsival $5M till 2012
Gilroy $1.7M RFA next season
Del Zotto $1.08M RFA 2012
Unsigned: RFA Marc Staal, RFA Dan Girardi
This is where Ranger fans go crazy. I don't know a player in the league more vilified than Wade Redden(2 goals, 12 assists). Whats wrong with spending $2.5 million per goal? Of the Rangers top six defensemen, Redden registered the fewest amount of points with only 14. The drop-off in production for Redden since he has been on Broadway is astounding. At one point, the guy was a top offensive defensemen in the league. For the most positive of all Ranger fans, he did post a plus-8 rating this season.
Michal Rozsival is probably not too far behind on the Ranger fans most renounced list. Three goals and 20 assists is not enough production for that kind of cap hit. Unfortunately, for the Rangers contracts like these are what is handcuffing them. As we mentioned earlier, if they want to unload one of these guys, Dubinsky, Callahan, or one of their many prospects will have to go the other way. Will the Rangers bury Redden in Hartford and have him stay in the AHL? Could happen.
The rest of the Ranger defense is very young, and very talented. Other teams rave about Marc Staal, who will be re-signed by Sather this summer. At age 23, he will only improve of his solid numbers last year (8 goals,19 assists). Michael Del Zotto stepped in as a rookie this season and showed the enormous potential that he has. The minus-20 is indicative of the learning curve for a rookie defensemen. Gilroy and Girardi, who will probably be re-signed as well, which round out a solid core of blueliners. However, the Rangers still need a veteran presence to run the point on the power play and log plenty of minutes.
Lundqvist $6.8M till 2014
Unsigned: Auld, Valiquette
One of the best goalies in the game, Henrik Lundqvist posted a .921 save percentage and a 2.38 GAA. As he goes, so do the Rangers. He has the ability to steal a game outright and gives the Rangers a chance to win every night. The workload has been heavy the last four seasons, and it may be a good idea to acquire a serviceable backup that could play around 15-20 games effectively.
It appears the Rangers have lots of money tied into a few key players. The fact that they are not getting the production from a few of their big salary players, makes it difficult for the organization to improve the club via trade or free agency. On the bright side, they do have promising prospects coming up through the system and one would expect the Del Zotto's, Staal's, Gilroy's, Anisimov's, and Girardi's all to improve. Having an elite goalie, and an elite sniper is also a plus. For the tenth straight year, Ranger fans will be counting on Glen Sather to fill the necessary holes on the New York roster this summer. Unfortunately, Ranger fans will have to hold the "Fire Sather" chants till opening night.