Where do we stand......Whats needed?

The subject has been discussed in masses lately.  What is the Rangers prognosis?  Where do we stand?  What is needed?


  Enough of the Sather bashing!  He is the GM and he isn't leaving anytime soon.  Especially after his latest dealings after the season ended for us.  With that said, Where do we stand?  What do you think the Rangers need to be competitive and to make it furhter into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the 2009/10 Season?

  As the roster stands today, and "Assuming" Dubinsky re-signs, I am confident in saying that the Rangers defense is our biggest hole.  Yes, we do not have a bonafide number center who has dominated the leaderboard as of yet.  However Dubinsky has proven to be that man in his stint in the minors.  He did excell at the position with his peers.  He came into our lives as our number one center as a rookie in this league and did well enough to say he wasnt a liability, playing against veterans not peers.

  With a few seasons under his belt, he has blossomed and honed his skills both offensively and defensively.  He can and should be given the opportunity to once again do the same with this Ranger team.  With a different style and system, one which suits Dubinsky perfectly, he should thrive.  He has the speed and the ability to carry the puck into the zone.  He has the size and toughness to play the corners and to drive to the net.  He has the will to do what is necessary to serve and protect his teammates.

  His shortfalls are unproven, he has been a 30 goal scorer and producer of points.  True he doesnt own the softest hands but lets not compare him to icons like Lemieux or Messier.  He has the goods to get the job done and the durability to do it on a nightly basis.

  I think I've made my point with regard to our number one center.  So, where do we stand and what is needed.  As I said earlier, the biggest hole for the Rangers is and will be, the defense.  Assuming Redden and Roszival are still members of the current team, theres no reason they shouldnt improve upon their play.  Under Renney, the Rangers played a Defensive style puck control game.  Alot of time was spent in their own zone and admittedly Roszival and Redden didnt seem capable of handling such consistent pressure--it took its toll on them.

  I expect both to rebound this year.  Staal and Girardi had slight set backs as well, with Staal being the most reliable back liner.  I believe both will improve as well and hope to see Girardi step up and play the body a bit more as he did in his first year.  That leaves our 3rd pair of defenders to discuss.  Who are they? 

 If we search within the organization, immediately coming to mind are Potter, Del Zotto, Sauer and Sanguinetti.  Also added this year via FA and Trade Aquisitions are McDonagh, Williams, Heikkenen,  and Valentenko.  Im not overly confident with having a thrid line pairing on defense with 2 rookies.  I like Del Zotto to be able to step in and also Potter or Sauer or Sangs, but that is asking an awful lot for Rookies especially in this division and conference.

  The Rangers have 3 right-handed D-men ready to make the jump and only Del Zotto as a left-handed shot.  I wouldnt be opposed to shipping one of the righties off and a prospect or pick in return for a solid d-man.  Rumors out of Carolina suggest Anton Babchuk ( RFA ) is on the outs there.  Tampa Bay has an abundance of D-men, many of whom are young and ready to make the jump to the NHL and some of whom already have some NHL experience.  To mind comes Matt Lashoff ( RFA ). 

  If the Rangers were inclined to let Del Zotto gain a season of AHL experience before joining the big club, Lashoff would be a nice addition.  He is young and plays a good game and could be a solid 3rd pair D-man for years to come.  Del Zotto is not a 3rd pair D-man and wont be when he joins the big club, so this wont interfere with his development nor take a spot from him.  Aquiring Lashoff shouldnt be out of the question nor pricey, a prospect or pick should suffice.

  Aquiring Babchuk would be more difficult.  He has size, is gifted and has a wealth of offensive potential,  his knock is motivation ( sound familiar Zherdev Fans? ).  A trade to a team that will play him as a Top 4 D-man and a slightly larger contract could be the motivation he seeks.


  With those two aquisitions, the Rangers would have an improved defensive posture and one that can move the puck which is required in such a style played by a Tortarella System.  Here are my pairings and Cap Space with such signings.  

NOTES:  Assuming Dubinsky re-signs at 1.95 for either 1 yr or 2, Lashoff signs as an RFA for 950,000, and Babchuk signs as an RFA at 2.0 mil for 2 or 3 yrs.






( Parenteau )





( Del Zotto )

Using I've come up with this 23 man roster with 275,000 in Cap Space available.  Of course this is only my opinion and if everything were to pan out as I have outlined.  My roster excludes:

Either thru demotion Hartford or Trade for the aquisitions above

Voros - at 1 mil, Rissmiller - at 1 mil, Potter - at 500,000- I would move to Carolina with either Voros or Rissmiller and a Pick for Babchuk. 

A Babchuk aquisition also allows for movement of Roszival during the season or at the Trade Deadline without a huge impact if needed, which frees up nice Cap Space going into the off-season to sign our RFA's.  The Rangers have only 9 players who are either UFA or RFA's next season, and really only 5 that are key to re-sign.  So, we arent in bad shape as it compares with the rest of the league.


  What are your thoughts?  Lets hear them....Am I out of my mind?  Are these deals unrealistic?

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