Is Now The Time To Buy? Lundqvist Isn’t Getting Younger

The Rangers are in a very unique position this year. They currently sit in 6th in the Eastern Conference, and are only three points away from 4th place. It is very clear that the Rangers are a playoff team. It is also very clear that they can skate with the upper echelon teams in the Conference, and can definitely win a seven game series with any of the teams ahead of (or behind) them. However, this is a flawed Rangers team. They lack a veteran presence on the blue line, they lack a puck moving defenseman that can quarterback the powerplay, and they lack balanced scoring from the forwards. With the East seemingly up in the air, the Rangers are facing a tough decision. Do they buy at the deadline to fill these holes? Which youngsters are deemed “expendable”? What is the right cost to make a Cup run?

A team will always need a balance of veterans who have been there before to guide the youth through the playoff grind. In 1994, the Rangers brought in those key veterans (Steve Larmer, Esa Tikkanen, Craig MacTavish) and it led to a Cup. However, it cost them Tony Amonte and Doug Weight. Sometimes, that is the price you pay for a Cup. There are many big names that the Rangers can look at (Bryan McCabe and Jarome Iginla are ones that come to mind), but is selling the future for a potential Cup run this year worth it? Can the right veterans really lead this young core to the promised land? Henrik Lundqvist isn’t getting any younger.

The Rangers have a window to win, and that window is The King’s prime. Lundqvist is now 28 years old, and he should probably have another 3-4 years after this season of prime goaltending before his age starts to show (probably about when his contract expires in 2013-2014). With the East seemingly up in the air, the Rangers may be able to seize the opportunity and pick up a key piece at the deadline for a Cup run. Key pieces cost key youth though. Are fans ready and willing to give up a roster player like Artem Anisimov or Mats Zuccarello-Aasen? What about a prospect like Ethan Werek or Ryan Bourque? These are the kinds of names that will be gone to solidify this team for a Cup run this season. Lundqvist is the key to a Rangers Cup run, and his window to win as an all-world goalie is closing. You have to give to get in this NHL.

15 Responses to “Is Now The Time To Buy? Lundqvist Isn’t Getting Younger”

  1. RangerSmurf says:

    In a word…no.

    His prime might be closing, but there’s no reason at 33-38 he can’t still provide above average goaltending (as opposed to currently elite), and teams have won cups/made runs lately with way less than above average goaltending.

    Even with an addition or three, this team is not cup ready yet.

    • Jordan says:

      Agreed.

      The goal should be a long-term sustainable model of player development. Sign a few impact FAs here and there. The window of championship calibre hockey needs to be maintained for half a decade if not indefinitely. Can’t go all in one year and not have a diminish the chance for the future.

      Look at the Red Wings. They’re a winning model.

  2. fred says:

    East up in the air ? Flyers, Pens, Caps and Boston are head and shoulders above NYR. unless they get breaks and avoid them, it’s far from up in the air. It’s top heavy. The West is up in the air, way more balance.

    • Dave says:

      Flyers maybe, but the Rangers hahve had convincing wins over the Pens and Caps this season. Don’t remember off-hand if they’ve played Boston yet, or the results.

    • Chris in MA says:

      Absolutely NOT true. Flyers, maybe… but thats debatable.

      Have you watched Boston play? They look like the Rangers form the past few years. I watch every NYR and BOS game and the Rangers are a much better team (night in and night out). In overall potential… Id give it to Bosotn, but you arent guaranteed thta they will event get off the plane and onto the ice on any given night.

      Weve also alreayd beat the Cpas and Pens this season convincingly. We’ve also gone 1-1 in good games vs Boston.

      So… as I said. PHI, BOS, PIT and WSH being ‘head and shoulders above NYR’ is horrifically mistaken.

  3. Leatherneck says:

    One word also….NO…stay the course if anything trade Gabby too..say to LA for Schenn and a few draft choices and then sign Stamkos in the off season,

  4. Agentsmith24 says:

    I think it could be time to buy. I wouldn’t be worried about the goaltending age. Look at Brodeur, he’s almost 40 just that his team sucks.

    But were at the point where we have the core, we just need pieces to solidify it. McCabe would be good…

  5. wwwc9 says:

    No. Now is not the time to buy. The goal is to develop a team that will compete for the cup for years.

    They’re not exactly tearing up the east and just don’t see them getting past the pens or the top teams in the east.

    We’ll have depleted the pool and be back to where we were in 2000.

    Stay the course, +1 on Gabby for Schenn + others if possible.

    Give this team 2-4 years to grow. Imagine Stephen, Dubi, Cally, Zuc, Kreider, AA, maybe EG, (pencil Luke Schenn?)and Staal, Girardi, Sauer, MDZ, McD, Undertaker, in that time.

    Most of them will have had a few years to grow and be ready to compete in the NHL. That’s the time frame in my mind.

    • Roger says:

      No more long stretches of time with zero playoff appearances. Keep bringing up the kids and give them time to develop. Not only as hockey players. For a team to succeed, its players need to pull for each other. Form bonds and friendships. Becoming a tight nit group is important when establishing team chemistry (going through all of the ups and downs together). The idea is too create a winning atmosphere within the organization. When was the last time Detroit missed the playoffs. Commit to scouting and drafting as best you can. Besides it could take 2 or 3 assets to get a veteran. If that’s not good enough to win a Cup, the organization might be tempted to trade another 2 or 3 young prospects,…etc,etc. That’s a recipe for disaster and another decade of miserable Rangers hockey. It was no fun going from one (rich) “has been” veteran to another with no results (well actually losing is the result).

  6. Jason says:

    I would NOT give away any of the young core that this team is developing for a veteran rental. Three reasons: 1) In a long run the value will be with the youth and we’re already seeing it happen before our eyes 2) This team is most likely still a year away. While they are great to watch right now and they play with loads of heart and grit and all the things we have been waiting for since the mid 90′s there’s still quite a bit of growing to be done. The good news is that by this time next year, with another year under the belt for all of these great looking young players they should be close to dominant. 3) It is so much more fun watching players develop and actually getting invested in them as a fan than just bringing in some high priced guy who’s at the back end of his career.

  7. Chris in MA says:

    Also calling the Rangers scoring unbalanced is about as off-base as it gets…

    BOS, NYR, PHI
    boston has 5 double digit goal scorers and 12 double digit point guys. rangers have 6 and 14 (better). philly has 8 and 14.

    PIT and WSH
    washington has 4 and 11
    and pit has 3 and 11

    This is showing that the Rangers have more well rounded scoring than who many consider to be the ‘best’ two teams in the east.

  8. Spacedog says:

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! The team rebuilding with youth is working. The current foundation of homegrown talent is starting to mature together within a well coached structured system and can compete with any of the so called “elite” teams in the league. This club now has an identity, so much for everyone who wanted to run “Tort’s” out of town. I would’nt trade any of our young player’s for anybody in the league, especially older, overpriced veteran’s. We have been down that road before and we know what that could lead to. The future is BRIGHT!