Just a thought here, but does it seem like every team in the Eastern Conference has gotten markedly stronger or maintained their already strong team. The teams at the top (New Jersey, Washington, Pittsburgh, Buffalo) have kept their major assets and some got even better (Pittsburgh). Of the teams at our level last season (Philadelphia, Ottawa, Boston, Montreal and Atlanta), only Boston has been relatively quiet. Of the teams below us, Tampa Bay is the only that has made some great moves, dumping salary and getting a high-end player in Simon Gagne.
So here's my worry: are the Rangers going to get completely crowded out next year? We have a potentially very strong defense (but not true defensive forwards) and a great goaltender. We have a coach who preaches high-powered offense, but we have no high-powered offensive weapons (besides Gabby). Plus, we've got some bloated contracts for mediocre performers (Redden, Drury, Roszy) that cramp our salary cap. We are by no means a bad team, but we're also not a great team capable of winning in one of the toughest divisions in hockey.
All this is to say, what are our expectations? Is it to win a Cup? Or just make the playoffs? Basically I've come to believe that this team is being built only to make the playoffs. That has been Sather's philosophy since taking over. That's fine for ownership as playoff games are what actually make the Rangers profitable (according to MSG's internal financial data both the Knicks and the Rangers lose money - not break even - if they only play regular season games). One playoff series usually generates enough income so that the Rangers actually turn a profit. Beyond that is great, but just not within the reach of this club.
But as a fan, I don't want to just make the playoffs. I want the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup. We all still cherish our memories from 1994 with good reason. No team has ever won a Stanley Cup since realignment ranked lower than 4th (though many have made the Cup Finals). So shouldn't the team's goal be to be good enough to win the division? Is that so far out of our reach within the next 2-5 years?
I'm looking to start a discussion because even I understand the other side, that making the playoffs in and of itself is awesome and worth it. Maybe. Convince me. Or agree with me that the Cup is worth having a bad season or two (i.e. selling off big names like Gabby and Prospal to get loads of draft picks/ prospects).