Hello fellow Rangers fans,
As my first fanpost, I would like to address the current state of affairs of the Rangers and make my predictions about what is to come and what may change in terms of the roster.
We have all witnessed, and probably panicked a bit, over the dismal preseason and season opener our Blueshirts have had. We shouldn't panic. This is a team with a completely rewritten philosophy and new way of playing. If anyone expected this team to come out flying, they should have looked at the situation realistically. The Rangers are faced with 2 major issues right now; injuries (including lack of preseason action from key players) and defensive restructuring which has had a toll on the goalie. Players like Ryan Callahan (who will return on monday) and Carl Hagelin have been injured and Derek Stepan just got his first ice time on thursday. The team is missing half of its top six and that would hurt any team. Defensively, the team has adjusted its strategy from a Torts zone game to a man on man game. That means the defense is less structured around the defensive zone and instead, each player takes a specific man. This is a work in progress for a team that got used to collapsing in the slot to play defense. Henrik Lundqvist has taken somewhat of a beating at this point. The numbers look horrible but they aren't really indicative of the way he has played. I'm not creating excuses but a decent portion of the goals he has allowed over the last few weeks would normally be waved off as interference penalties. Not to mention that his pads are smaller (I have actually not seen any other goalie in the league with pads as short and narrow as his so far) and he is trying to play more aggressively. He gets caught out of position and pays for it. These issues are not something to worry about. They will iron themselves out over time.
Now to the fun part; predictions!
I feel this trade is the most likely to happen mainly because of the disappointment that Del Zotto has been. I don't think he is entirely to blame for his shortcomings though. He was thrown on the team at such a young age and had huge expectations placed on him right from the get go. You can't expect a player with no experiance to be the next Brian Leetch. Del Zotto should have had time to play in the AHL and develop the defensive side of his game. I think Cody Franson is the logical swap for NY and for Toronto because he has more of a two way upside and that is what the Rangers need right now and Del Zotto would be a fan favorite in Toronto because he is from that area. A plus is that Franson's current contract has half the cap hit of Del Zotto's registering in a 1.2 million.
2. Taylor Pyatt and Daroll Powe for Rich Peverly
This is unlikely but possible. The Rangers need a reliable 3rd line winger who can pot in some goals and check along the boards. The Stars need some size and penalty killing prowess. A bit of a pipe dream trade but you never know.
3. Dan Girardi for Alex Edler
Don't take this the wrong way, I am a huge fan of Dan Girardi but I don't think he has much to offer to this team. This swap would have seemed unthinkable a year ago but now, both players have become expendable to their teams. Both are first pairing d-men and have opposite game styles. Girardi flourished under Torts and would probably enjoy going to play there. He is not a quick two way puck moving defenseman that AV needs to execute his game plan. Instead, he is a stay at home shot blocker and crease clearer that Vancouver needs. He is slow and brings to little to the table to succeed in AV's game. Edler on the other hand has better two way capabilities and has a rocket of a shot. He wont fit in as well in Torts' collapsing system and has more experience with AV. Both players are the ideal player for the coaches of the opposite team and this trade seems like it would benefit both Vancouver and New York equally.
Now moving on to my season and playoff predications.
The Rangers are at the 3rd spot because I think the Islanders are the better team now. They will start the season swinging and wont slow down. The Blueshirts are going to start slowly but will peak around playoff time and make it.
Rangers make the cup final and defeat the St Louis Blues in 7 game. Yeah, it sounds like a dream right now, but I think it is possible for this team. AV's system will give them an edge in the playoffs and if no injuries occur and they get a bit of puck luck, a cup is definitely possible.
Thanks for reading and please leave comments bellow.