Let me begin with this lazy piece of journalism from THN’s John Grigg:
Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan have showed promise in spurts this year, but after them, Marc Staal and a couple of guys in the system, there’s not a lot to get excited about when it comes to the future on Broadway. Unless you like overpaying free agents.
Dear Mr Grigg; how wrong can you be? How lazy can you be? If anyone else was this lazy in their place of employment their job would likely be under threat. Mr Grigg is wrong as there is alot to be excited about in terms of the future and that is not an opinion coming from biased Rangers fans but from Hockeys future, a widely respected prospect website. Recently ranked 9th overall (of 30, obviously) that puts the Rangers in the upper echelon of NHL teams in terms of having potential NHL’ers on the horizon. Many current Rangers prospects are tearing up their respective junior leagues, prospects such as Mats Zuccarello are turning it around in the AHL and the Rangers recent draft history and ability to turn middle round picks into value is a good one.
Then there is the Rangers free agency issues, which is a dated theory. This is likely to be an unfortunate stain on the organization for decades but one or two contracts aside – especially recently – and the Rangers dealings haven’t been bad at all. They got rid of the Redden problem, the contract for Alex Frolov cannot be mocked as it was very low risk high reward (regardless of his current performance levels) and when scanning the Rangers roster the majority of it is drafted by the Rangers or made up of trade acquisitions. All of this makes you wonder how significant and relevant free agents are in the Rangers recent history. In fact when considering the free agency element on the roster right now, Marian Gaborik has been a significant success and is usually deserving of his salary, Ruslan Fedotenko has been a solid depth signing and even though Derek Boogaard is overpaid somewhat (although it was only a minor raise from his Minnesota deal) he did address a need when he was signed. So what really is the issue?
Free agency – for every team – can be hit and miss. The Rangers have had their share of misses such as Ales Kotalik or Aaron Voros but rather than always writing unoriginal columns pointing these misses out how about highlighting the excellent returns Glen Sather was able to get when he brought in the likes of Steve Eminger and Brandon ‘Part of the Core’ Prust. That isnt written about because its simply not cool to praise a guy like Sather. Praise also doesn’t generate site hits or sell papers like negativity does. I’m OK with journalists such as John Grigg criticizing the Rangers. It sells papers and fills columns and sometimes it certainly is warranted but it also needs to be accurate. The Rangers have nine players on the roster right now that they developed and have eight players who are 25 and under, a figure which increases if you take the age up to a still young 26. The Rangers are young, have shown they have potential and have a solid future, they are indeed performing adequately during a transition year. No reason to think pessimistically right now.