This past week, Scott Cullen of TSN wrote up a lengthy and in-depth gameplan for the New York Rangers in the upcoming offseason. He discusses who should stay and who should go, what the team's biggest needs are, and who the Blueshirts should look to acquire in this year's NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles, California. Below, I highlighted some of the more general ideas Scott brought to the table as he first looked at New York's approach as a whole.
Given the Rangers' approach in recent seasons, it's natural to expect them to head to the free agent market for solutions to their woes, but while head coach John Tortorella has indicated he wants changes in the room, he cautions against the Rangers making too many changes.
Since the Rangers only missed the playoffs by one point, rolling with the status quo could yield a playoff team in 2010-2011, but it would be irresponsible to not make an effort to provide better support for Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik, the Rangers' two bona fide stars, who need help if this team is going to do more than merely battle for a playoff spot.
Questionable (to be kind) free agent signings in recent years have left the Rangers in a precarious position under the salary cap.
Wade Redden, Chris Drury and Michal Rozsival aren't producing nearly enough for what they are getting paid and that makes it difficult for the Rangers to provide adequate support to their best players and it's how the Rangers end up with waiver wire pickup Erik Christensen centering their first line down the stretch as they bid for a playoff spot.
If the Rangers are creative enough, or willing to swallow enough salary, they may still be able to make a big addition or two to help next year's bid for the playoffs.
As Tortorella knows, though, there isn't any single addition that will turn this franchise into a championship contender, so a lot will depend on execution from whomever opens the season in Manhattan.
(For a more detailed look, read the remainder of Cullen's article on TSN)
My analysis after the jump.As he mentions, I think it is likely that the Rangers are going to at least dip their feet into the free agent pool to get a feel for it come July 1st. Whether or not they will make any big free agent signings, I am not sure, because they are working with limited cap space here. I know that they would love to sink their teeth into Montreal center Tomas Plekanec if they could, but a trade or prior move of some sort may need to be made in order for that to happen.
There is no question that Gaborik and Lundqvist need some support on this team. They cannot be the only consistent pieces on the roster; that is not a team. I think just two more 20 goal scorers and a solid defenseman would make a huge difference for the Rangers, helping both Gabby and Hank out in the process. The question is, where do you turn to acquire those assets? And do you have the money/space to do so? These are just some of the questions running through general manager Glen Sather's mind right now.
Now that you have read TSN's offseason plan, I expect to be sharing mine in the coming weeks. Last year, I was pretty much on the money with my offseason predictions as most of them came true. If you never got a chance to read my gameplan from last summer since it wasn't on the Banter, do so here and try to recall how much of it actually happened.