For the most part, there are 2 issues that have been thought of as the Rangers main problems over the past couple years. Those would be the lack of a number 1 center and a PP QB. Bringing in Brad Richards addresses both of those issues, but the one issue the team hasn't addressed (and really can't) is the lack of offense from the blue line.
If you look at the last bunch of Cup winners, they all have one thing in common: multiple defensemen that are legitimate offensive threats. The Bruins had Chara, Seidenberg, and Kaberle (who took some heat, but was definitely still a huge part of the playoff run). The Hawks had Duncan Keith (69 points in the regular season and a Norris) and Brian Campbell. The Pens had Gonchar, Letang and Goligoski. The Wings had Nick Fuckin' Lidstrom and Rafalski.
My main concern is that the Rangers don't have anything even remotely resembling those kinds of threats from the blue line. If MDZ develops his offensive ability and shows that he's no longer a liability defensively he could be a major asset, but otherwise the cupboard's kinda bare. The way the league is now, the ability to create space and time with the puck is probably the most important part of offensive success. Part of why Gaborik had a hard time producing last year, aside from the shoulder, was that a d-man would take him to the boards and either 1 or 2 forwards would back check on him hard and take all his space and options away. Teams wouldn't be able to do that if we had blue-liners rushing up to take that empty space and create chances, and we all know what Gabby can do if he gets even an inch of space.
Erixon is kind of a wild card in that reports vary on what kind of puck mover he is. Some say he's got high end offensive talent, others say he's just solid. Staal's still young and may develop some more offense, and same goes for McD. Sauer seems like he's basically just going to be Girardi with a bit more snarl, essentially a non-factor with the puck. MDZ is the team's biggest hope for a blue-liner with top end ability to create offense. Bryan McCabe didn't count because he was absolutely terrible.
There's nothing wrong with having an excess of solid players - we have plenty of solid and reliable forwards and few guys who have elite ability, and our d-men are nothing but solid. The problem is that being solid only gets you so far. Without a few guys on D who know how to create, the ceiling for this Ranger team isn't as high as we all want it to be.
So what do you guys think? Do we cross our fingers and pray that Staal and McD get some offense into their games and MDZ becomes everything we hope he can be? Are there some moves we should consider making? Am I just worrying too much and overstating the issue? Let me know what you all think, because now that we have Richards I think this is really the last obstacle between us and winning a Cup.