A few days ago I came up with that line and thought it would be a good article for blueshirt banter. The line "a good start" in this case comes from Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Ros from their second album. The band made an album in 1997, and then after looking back on their work realized it was "a good start" and then crafted their second album with that name. In their native Icelandic the title is Agaetis Byrjun, which is the last translatable line (if you understand this you have an awesome taste in music, and if not then don't worry I'm just going on a tangent) of the album. How does this have anything to do with the Rangers? I realized that by filling one of the major holes in this roster only creates another question for down the line and isn't going to be a panacea (or cure all) for this roster.
The 2009-2010 New York Rangers was a roster that was like the mysteries on the television show Lost. As Lost fans know in a recent episode a certain character (I am being vague to prevent spoilers) was quoted by saying "asking questions will only lead to more questions so stop." This comparison is valid because this was a flawed roster that did not need one little thing to put them over the hump. Don't look at the recent playoffs to say that if we had beaten the Philadelphia Flyers in that shootout we'd be in the conference finals because this team was just mediocre. Very mediocre. The main problem is that I honestly don't see one main problem, I see a flawed organization that has lost its way and a team that will be mediocre for years to come unless change is made.
I don't think this organization is doomed. A wise sports fan once told me how they think championships are won. They said that an organization tastes initial success, but cannot take it anywhere. They then take a period of no success with them, and respond to it with the necessary roster to win a championship. Take a look at the Rangers from 1991-1994 to see an accelerated version of this theory. I feel the Rangers tasted their initial success and need to take the time to plug all their holes even if that means we do not make the playoffs for a few years. I advocated a tank this year only to jumpstart this process, but what I am talking about now is building a roster that will stay in tact for a few years with relatively minor adjustments made.
For example I feel that Tomas Plekanec needs to be signed, and he be our ONLY offseason move. Plekanec provides something unique we haven't seen since Michael Nylander: a legitimate number one center. Now people are going to say that's what Scott Gomez was brought in for. Gomez did not mesh with our roster. He's a puck carrier on a team that needs a center who will lead a rush, but not on his own. Put Plekanec on a line with Marian Gaborik and someone else (Brandon Dubinsky at wing maybe? or Vinny Prospal if he resigns) and form a cohesive unit. We haven't seen that since the Jaromir Jagr-Michael Nylander-Martin Straka days, and we could really use it again. Tomas Plekanec opens up a spot for the number 2 center to be Artem Anisimov (I like Chris Drury on the wings as well as Erik Christensen or at the 3rd line center). The roster might look something like this:
Do I think that lineup is great? No. Bu it's a good start towards something better. I say keep the defense the way it is and see how they mesh for a second straight year. I want to win a championship as much as the next guy, but its going to take patience, time, and some building blocks. The pieces are going to start coming together, and through drafting, restraining ourselves (except in extreme cases in the case for Plekanec) in the free agency market, resigning our core, and waiting for big contracts to come off the book we will build ourselves into a perennial contender.
For those wondering here is what I signed our guys to:
Plekanec gets 5 mil a year cap hit (cap hit not salary)
Staal gets a 3.25 mil a year cap hit
Girardi gets 2 mil a year cap hit
Prospal gets another 1.15 mil contract
Christensen gets another .75 mil contract
Prust Byers and Shelley get .5 mil a year cap hits
We are then RIGHT against the cap, but for now its "a good start."