The Musings: Can the Rangers contend long term?April 10, 2014, by
The Rangers entertain the hapless Sabres tonight. A team with hopes of a deep playoff run should be winning tonight with ease so with that jinx behind us, let’s throw up a few Ranger based thoughts.
Let’s briefly address the ‘win now’ theory. Henrik Lundqvist is 32 and has a shiny new seven year deal. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down and with several examples of goalies playing to an elite level deep into their 30’s, there’s no reason to think Lundqvist can’t do the same.
The defense has a strong under-contract core (Staal, Girardi, McDonagh and Klein) of which none are the wrong side of thirty. The forward corps (Nash and St Louis not considered) could feature six players in the top nine who have contributed to the Rangers this year (as presently constructed) that are all 26 or under and of which none have maxed out their potential – think Kreider, Hagelin, Stepan, Zuccarello, Brassard and JT Miller.
Without going into this debate in any great detail, there is absolutely no reason to think the Rangers cannot contend for another handful of years with the core that is already in place. A Vezina winner, protected by Norris calibre defensemen, supported by a solid core of predominantly home grown forwards; an over simplified but reasonable starting point to consider the merits of a consistent contender, no? This is not ‘now or never’ territory for this deep pocketed franchise.
What Sabres player would you want on the Rangers right now, if any?
So Raphael Diaz, John Moore and Anton Stralman are approaching a summer of potential change. Regardless of financials, the Rangers shouldn’t keep all three. All three are puck moving, non physical defenseman. Do the Rangers need some additional variety?
With a trip to Montreal for the regular season finale and a playoff spot sealed, it makes tonight’s game very important. If the Rangers win tonight you try and avoid Lundqvist starting in Montreal, no?
Here at Blue Seat Blogs we’ve always thought that this team will be a legitimate threat for a Cup when they have forward depth. Brian Boyle and Dom Moore should both have 20 point seasons from the bottom line, in limited minutes. Depth.
The Rangers (not including Martin St Louis) have nine players with 14 or more goals. Depth.
The Rangers’ biggest issues in the short and mid term are getting Nash and St Louis firing on all cylinders because those two players impact so much of the roster. By default the powerplay would improve if both were point/game players for the Rangers and if you had two elite wingers at the top of the game they would make their line-mates better. Would the Rangers’ need to invest (in a weak free agent market) in an expensive center this summer if Stepan and Brassard were developing from the mere presence of consistent elite wingers?
- How much has Chris Kreider’s bargaining position for his next contract been hampered by his injury?
- If the decision had to be made today, would re-signing Rick Nash be a no-brainer?
- If home ice was secured before the Montreal trip would you take a look at Haggerty?
- What is Derek Stepan’s ceiling (in terms of production)?
- Considering all factors (upside, cap hit, health) if you could only have one next year; Carcillo or Dorsett?