The New York Rangers -- a team that was supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup for the third consecutive year -- got laughed out of the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games. It was horrible to watch, especially after everything the Rangers brass tried to do to keep this particular window open, but it might have been for the best. Something I recognized as the Rangers continued to pour gasoline on the fire:
If we're being honest, losing without their dignity is the best thing to happen. I hope NYR are embarrassed from AV to Dolan. Need change— Joe Fortunato (@BlueshirtBanter) April 23, 2016
The fallout has already begun. While this space has questioned the things that led to the Rangers eventual demise in the first round, most of the mainstream media did not pick anything up until the seconds were locking off the Rangers' clock in Pittsburgh.
Sources have told The Post there is belief from the top down -- starting with CEO Jim Dolan -- the club is in need of an overhaul in the form of a transfusion of new and younger blood pumped into the system. Still, though, even as the clock ticked on the core, more was expected of it.
Brooks continues in that article to go off on Kevin Hayes, but that's besides the point. The above is something he was told -- and let's be fair, The Post is better connected than any other Rangers publication out there -- and it's exactly what you want to see. The Rangers should be embarrassed and they should want change.
Change can mean a million different things though. Moving more towards youth would be a welcome change over what the Rangers have been doing to this point. This also signals, at the very least, there might be cracks appearing in the Rangers brass' blind trust of their coach.
That reality within itself might force change. For example: Does Vigneault continue to be a Tanner Glass advocate when he knows his own seat is hot? What about Marc Staal? What about Dan Girardi?
If the Rangers are really invested in bringing the youth back to the table, they're not just focusing on the NHL lineup but the farm system as well. The Rangers have long abandoned their crops, being rewarded only by the fantastic work of Gordie Clark and company who pulled true talent from the later round soil of the draft. Re-investing in that part of the business would only help to keep the Rangers ready to move forward in this ever-evolving, salary capped league.
We're undoubtedly going to spend a good amount of digital ink this summer going over all the moves the Rangers should and shouldn't make. What this thought process should do is force Jeff Gorton to move on from Girardi, Staal and Glass. What it shouldn't do is scare the Rangers away from a long-term contract with Keith Yandle, keeping Viktor Stalberg and replacing Dominic Moore with a non-Glass player.
The Rangers don't need to go crazy here. They have a really good core they can build on. The Rangers' average age (near the oldest the league) is often cited, but that's actually not entirely accurate; Dan Boyle, Henrik Lundqvist, Girardi, Rick Nash and Moore skew the Rangers older.
The Rangers have a lot to work with when you look at what they do have. They have a lot of youth either sitting on the sidelines or actually playing pretty big roles on the team. As I've said, the Rangers don't need to rebuild; they need to retool, and there's an enormous difference there.
How the Rangers do it is the million dollar question. That they're even thinking of doing it? Well, we might have that horrific five-game playoff performance to thank for that.