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Could the Rangers Look the Same Next Year?

As the Rangers looked to get in to the playoffs down the stretch and now in the playoffs, some of the Rangers best players have been their oldest. These were players deemed not good enough for other teams, even players that didn’t have a team. Ruslan Fedotenko –a try out in camp don’t forget– may have summed up the Rangers work ethos with his spectacular defensive play earlier in this playoff series against the Caps, while Vinny Prospal continues to log big minutes and score important goals. The Rangers should look to bring back both players. Both players –albeit in different ways– lead by example for the Rangers. If it’s not Prospal’s enthusiasm and offense, it’s Fedotenko’s work rate and hunger. Even as the Rangers mature next season these are two players that the younger roster players can still learn from.

Then there’s the forgotten man in New York this year, Michael Del Zotto. A poor start to the season (certainly in comparison to his rookie year) culminated with demotion and injury to cap a miserable 2nd year as a pro for the skilled defenseman.  However barring a spectacular trade offer, Del Zotto will be a Ranger next year – they clearly still value the talented blueliner. On top of the likely return of Del Zotto is the news (rumour?) that the Rangers are considering offering a new deal to Matt Gilroy. Add all this up and do the math – there are a lot of familiar faces that should or could be returning next year.

The one position that will likely see a major change is the top line center. With Brad Richards permanently linked to the Rangers, they appear to have their answer in the Dallas pivot.  But beyond Richards there may be little change on the horizon. That’s not a bad thing, as the free agent market (beyond Richards and goaltending – certainly not a need) is very weak and most of the Rangers prospects would benefit from another year of seasoning. Bringing back this year’s club with Richards as an upgrade is still a very good, competitive (and still young and developing) team. Bringing back Prospal and Fedotenko as the veteran presence every team needs is the right thing to do. Many doubted Prospal’s ability to recover from his long injury but he’s proven (and is still doing so) that there is still a lot left in that overly tanned body of his. Fedotenko is low maintenance and would be cheap – as well as building a team with the right players the finances need to add up and both veterans should fit in to the financial plan.

Obviously there are a few maturing prospects that could make the team (Weise, Grachev, Valentenko) and several others, maybe getting looks in camp (Thomas, Bourque) that will excite and lead calls for another shot of youth next season but Rangers fans shouldn’t be disappointed if next year’s club looks similar to this year’s. A developing team shouldn’t be rushed and this year’s team is showing Rangers fans that there’s a lot to like and a lot to get excited about already adorning red, white and blue.

39 Responses to “Could the Rangers Look the Same Next Year?”

  1. mug25 says:

    I really dont think that the defense is an issue, in fact I would be almost completely happy if the entire d-corps returns next season with the possible exclusion of Eminger.

    Not necessarily these pairs but…

    Staal-Girardi
    Sauer – DelZotto
    Gilroy – McDonagh

    The forwards and lack of scoring is what has plagued this year’s team. Unless Gaborik lights on fire next season we will need more than just Brad Richards.

    Not to mention, Steps will likely continue to grow offensively and I really see next year being a really big breakout season for Cally — an 75-80pt season definitely seeming realistic if he plays a full season.

    Cant wait!!!

    • joey says:

      Think a veteran D is needed to solidify the corps, move girardi away from top comp and into a second pairing role. Something like this.

      Staal-Bieksa
      Girardi-MDZ
      Mcdonagh-Sauer
      Gilroy

  2. mug25 says:

    Meant to add…Grachev seems more and more like a good potential trade piece. Dont see him fitting in with this team.

    Really like Vinny and Feds so I “hope” they return but not sure how realistic that is.

    • Dave says:

      I hate to say it, because I really think the kid has potential, but I am beginning to agree with this sentiment. I can see him being packaged for a proven player at some point.

      • mug25 says:

        Exactly. With so many prospects behind him he seems very expendable. If anything, he’d last a year or two before we start seeing the younger prospects outplaying him.

        • Dave says:

          I think it’s more of the emergence of Christian Thomas as someone who may play in the NHL next year.

          • LA BLUESHIRT says:

            Grachev is probably still the top center in the system. He could be one of these guys like Boyle who shows up one year down the line able to move around the ice much stronger than today. AA, don’t really see him as a first line center and if EC is gone you shouldn’t move your top prospect at the position without a really good deal.

  3. joey says:

    In regards to forwards I see
    Dubi-Richards-Gabby
    as a true first line, something we have lacked.
    Then there are other true keepers and definite contributors such as
    Cally, Stepan, and Anisimov
    along with this line which i think should remain together:
    Avery-Boyle-Prust.
    And the fourth line extra:
    Drury

    Seven of the above should be guarenteed to be here next year, along with avery and Drury as near guarentees and Richards as a probable/hopeful.

    That leaves two “open” spots.

    Ideally we find a trade partner for Wolski and Christensen, though that will most likely be easier said then done.

    I have no idea what will happen to Boogard.

    Any ideas how those spots would be filled if feds and prospal are not brought back? Maybe hagelin/thomas/grachev. Any free agent target ideas?

    • Matt J says:

      I think Nikolai Zherdev is someone they could try to bring back. sign him for a a year or two see what happens.

  4. Mark says:

    I think we are going to add Richards and keep both Prospal and Feds. We need inexpensive veterans to be reliable, feds and prospal have proven to be that. We have Drury and Gabby taking up a lotof cap, we need the inexpensive depth… that said Brian Boyle may be a guy that could price himself right off this team. I dont want to see it, but his “break out” year may get him a multi year deal worth over 2.5 adn i dont know if SAther is going to commit to Boyyle with all the youth coming in… Also moving EC and Wolski aren’t realistic they are skilled players at a cheap price, i say keep them, which leaves little to no room on this roster for additions, but I dont see that as a bad thing. I know everyone wants to see Dubi on line one, i just don’t think next year is the year. I think it will be…

    Prospal Richards Gabby
    Dubi AA Cally
    Feds Stepan Prust
    Wolski Drury EC (maybe Grachev)…

    I like this team… naturally i would like to keep it as Feds Boyle and Prust… i really don’t see how Avery fits in to the mix either, i think if it is between Wolski, EC, and Avery… sorry Sean it’s been fun

  5. Brian SCS says:

    I totally agree with this. Bring back Prospal and Feds on one-year deals, and sign Brad Richards provided it won’t be longer than a 5-year deal. Re-sign Gilroy and V-tank and allow Eminger, and McCabe to walk. The great thing about Richards is that he can double as #1C and play point on the powerplay – taking some pressure off Del Zotto. I think the Rangers will have to attempt to trade trade Wolski (or buy him out) and send Boogaard to a radio tower in Siberia.

    Prospal-Richards-Gaborik
    Dubi-AA-Cally
    Feds-Boyle-Prust
    Avery-Stepan-Drury
    MZA-Grachev

    Staal-Girardi
    McDonagh-Sauer
    MDZ-Gilroy/VTank

  6. the duke says:

    What about poor Frolov has anyone seen him?

  7. The Suit says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about “Jurgenno” being re-branded as “Chris.” I always thought Jurgenno was a unique nickname.

    I’d bring Prospal and Feds back. EC and Wolski I’d mafia drop from the GW Bridge. I’m iffy on McCabe, and I’d pass on Eminger. If you want Richards, then Drury has to be bought out.

    • Dave says:

      It will probably have the same effect that Versus being re-branded as NBC Sports has.

  8. The Suit says:

    PS. Cally probably won’t play a full season with any sort of frequency given his durabilty, size, and style. I wouldn’t pencil him in for 80 points haha.

    60-65 sounds about right for the Irishmen.

  9. Section 121 says:

    Two words; James Wisniewski

    75 games, 10-41-51, 7-22 on the PP, 108 hits, 119 blocks, 38 PIM, 22 to 23 ATOI, +4 since going to MTL

    Staal Wisniewski
    McDonagh Girardi
    MDZ Sauer

    Gilroy

    Don’t play top pair 24 minutes plus, give everyone a little more time. Staal is ragged right now.

    As for forwards, you can’t bring in Richards and retain Feds, Prospal, etc. – there’s too many.

    Dubi-AA-Gabby
    Wolski-Stepan-Cally
    Avery-Boyle-Prust
    MZA-Drury-EC

    Boogie

    Right now, there is no room for any “new” forwards let alone the older vets on expiring deals. You can’t sign them and Richards unless you get rid of EC, MZA, Avery. Let Boyle, Prust, Avery, Cally, Dubi bring the hunger and keep Wolski over Feds. Wolski has the potential to put up 65+ pts and Feds does not. We need to keep the offensive players we have.

    If you must get Richards then on of the centers needs to be traded or Boyle goes back to 4th line;

    Wolski-Richards-Gabby
    Dubi-AA-Cally
    Avery-Stepan-Prust
    Drury-Boyle-EC

    Boogie

  10. Swedefour says:

    In as much as McCabe has improved the PP- do you see him as a piece to the puzzle?

    • The Suit says:

      No, he’s not a great skater and this roster needs to get quicker. Too many guys who skate like they have an anchor hanging out of their ass.

  11. OmarLittle says:

    I know Joey mentioned him above, but I must ask: no love for Hagelin? Dude apparently would fit in well with the Tortorella forechecking system (that is, if the system doesn’t change a bit with the arrival of Richards). I agree that having Feds another year wouldn’t be bad, but I got to imagine a Hagelin-Boyle-Prust 4th line would work.

    • Dave says:

      You have Hagelin penciled in where I would put him. I figure Fedotenko/Prospal are back, but Christensen is gone. That leaves room for Hagelin.

      People tend to overvalue Weise, I don’t think he’s anything special.

  12. Redfish says:

    We should take a poke at signing either Wisniewski, or Bieksa; let Eminger and Gilroy walk — and bring up Valentenko provided he proves he is worthy at conclusion of pre-season training camp.

    Sign Richards; buy-out Drury and Avery, and release Frolov. There may be a couple more tweaks to leave ample space to re-sign some RFAs but there is ample monies to get a d-man and Richards.

    Let’s giter done!

  13. Section 121 says:

    This is great; the night of a playoff game where the team’s life is virtually on the line and we’ve got 25+ posts about what’s happening next year.

    Maybe we should take another confidence poll?

  14. joey says:

    Get rid of Wolski!

  15. matt says:

    what’s the deal with Zack (or Zach) Parise? I’d much rather him over Richards…even if it meant waiting a year.

    • Dave says:

      Different positions. One is a UFA, the other is a RFA.

    • Matt J says:

      Even if you match or make a better offer for Parise it’s not worth it. The Devils will completely over pay him anyway so it’s not worth it. They’re going to do another Kovalchuck type deal.

  16. Matt J says:

    Only 3 teams in my mind Richards can go to.

    New York- We have the money, cap space, and the team he might be looking for. But try to throw not so much money at the guy. Also, he won a cup with Torts back in Tampa. This could either really help us or really hurt us whether or not he wants to play for him again.

    Tampa Bay- Unlikely but maybe he wants to go back there with his old pals and play. Now Tampa also has to sign Stamkos so this helps NYR’s cause to get Richards.

    Toronto- They have way more money to throw at Richards than we do but who knows if he wants to go to a team that is not really a contender and is really young.

    Richards if he came to NY would provide a real balance and some goal scoring. This guy can be a real difference maker here, and I think if he comes here they should relinquish Drury’s captaincy, give Richards an A if not the C. I prefer to give him the A and let Callahan be the captain because he did his time here and worked his way up the system. But honestly if we give Richards a long contract we might have to give him the C. But it doesn’t matter to anyone. Drury wears the C and he’s a fourth liner.

  17. Agentsmith24 says:

    kreider will be here. i dont give a damn what that york guy said