The Musings: Can the Rangers contend long term?

Long term contention? Photo: Brad Penner, USA Today

Long term contention? Photo: Brad Penner, USA Today

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?

Question Time:

  • 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?
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18 Responses to “The Musings: Can the Rangers contend long term?”

  1. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Philadelphia series will tell. They still have a long way to go to compete with the likes of the Bruins, Blues, Ducks, Sharks and kings. We have a better chance against Pittsburgh than the teams I mentioned above

  2. RangerSmurf says:

    1. A little. He’s a RFA w/o arbitration, he doesn’t have much of a position to begin with.
    2. Like anyone, depends on term/length. Effort should be made, certainly.
    3. Sure, why not.
    4. One or two years of 20-50-70. Maybe 25 goals once.
    5. Dorsett

  3. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    The under 26 core you mention are all FA’s this offseason or next. That’s the biggest risk right now, that none of these players are signed long-term.

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Food for thought…the NHL is going to expand,,,,2015? 2017? It is happening….with expansion comes the inevitable expansion draft. How would we as the Rangers organization protect our players? Does any of you who write the topics no the rules of the expansion draft and eligibility for the draft? Interesting concept that may have implications on how the Rangers are conducting business

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I’ve read that NHL expansion talks have not gotten anywhere near close to serious, and that it’s a media-driven talking point.

      If anything, the NHL owners in cities that traditionally struggle may look to reloate before expansion is discussed.

    • RangerSmurf says:

      From the 2000 expansion:

      “At the time of the draft were each allowed to protect either one goaltender, five defensemen, and nine forwards or two goaltenders, three defensemen, and seven forwards. The Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators had their entire rosters protected, as they were the two newest franchises in the league, only being in existence for one and two years respectively.

      For teams protecting only one goaltender, there was no experience requirement for those left unprotected. For teams protecting two goaltenders, each goaltender left unprotected must have appeared in either 10 NHL games in the 1999–2000 season or 25 games in the 1998–99 season and 1999–2000 seasons combined. A goaltender had to be in net for at least 31 minutes in each game for the game to be counted against these totals.

      At least one defenceman left unprotected by each team had to have appeared in at least 40 games in the 1999–2000 season or 70 games in the 1998–99 season and 1999–2000 seasons combined. At least two forwards left unprotected by each team had to have met the same requirements.”

      • Chris F says:

        It would be an interesting post, dissecting who the Rangers would protect and then predicting which players remaining would likely get selected by an expansion franchise.

        • RangerSmurf says:

          With the rate of turnover lately, it’d be a project just to project who is still around in 2015, let alone who they’d protect.

  5. Ren says:

    1. Not much
    2. Besides his spurts, Nash has been a little underwhelming for me, I don’t think it is a no-brainer
    3. Yes, for sure.
    4. 70pt(+/- 5).
    5. Hate to say it, but for those factors, likely
    take Carcillo.

  6. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    I’d argue that the puck-moving non-physical defensemen you mention are offset by the stay at home, physical defensemen Girardi, Klein, Staal.

    Not that I’d advocate keeping all 3 (Stralman will likely price himself out this offseason), but there is balance there, and if anything, the Rangers could use more offense from their DMen.

    The types that can bring both physicality and puck moving skills (Keith, McD, Weber, Suter, etc.) don’t grow on trees.

    • Chris says:

      I was also considering the fact they will probably look to bring in a defensemen from outside the org. and that maybe a prospect may be ready. Need to leave room for a prospect to grab a spot.

  7. Melissa says:

    1. Hampered? Wouldn’t the fact they haven’t found someone to replace him on that line yet mean it got better?
    2. If contract was up this summer, yes. If we are talking about how old he will be when actual contract is up, no.
    3. No. But if Rangers need/want to rest players, they might.
    4. I think Stepan should easily be a 60-70 point player. It really comes down to if he scores. He’ll get the assists (and will probably always have more assists). If he shoots every once in a while, I think he could be an 80 point player.
    5. I have been asking myself this question for weeks and keep switching back and forth. I like Dorsett but we haven’t seen what I expected from him on a regular basis. That said, I can’t convince myself Carcillo will continue to behave so if have to chose, I’d go with Dorsett.

  8. SalMerc says:

    Forgeting the questions for the moment; we can contend if:
    We break in some youth. Give JT, Fast, ?? real minutes
    Get Henrick more days off during the year
    Get a puck-moving defenseman, big even better
    Protect Zucc, MSL, Nash and Stepan

  9. Chris F says:

    -I’m not sure Kreider’s injury has hampered his contract leverage at all. It’s not as if it were a concussion with potential long term implications. If anything, I’d think that the injury worked in his favor as it revealed a gaping hole in this team’s top-6 depth. Kreider has been shown to be way more important than one might have surmised prior to his injury.

    -I’d resign Nash if his contract were up today.

    -I must admit, I’m curious to see what Haggerty brings to the table. If the Montreal game is meaningless, it would be an opportune time to give him a look. On the other hand, I’d like to give the opportunity to Fast, as he’s earned it.

    -I think 70-80 points and 25 goals max is the best we’ll see from Stepan, and that may be a little optimistic. But, yea, in that general ballpark.

    -Dorsett all day long. Carcillo has been good but I can’t quite get the stench of his past out of my nostrils. He’s no Ranger.

  10. Walt says:

    Kreider is better positioned today due to his injury. We still are looking for a real replacement for him!!

    Re-signing Nash would require a cut in pay. He hasn’t lived up to his billing, and hasn’t performed in pressure situations, IE, Play Offs!!

    If the game ment nothing, Haggerty, Fast, and maybe some other young guy from the farm should get a chance to show their stuff.

    Stepan has the potential to put up decent numbers if he would shoot some more, and if his wings can close the deal, giving him the assists. He will never be a Jean Ratelle, that’s for sure.

    Carcillo has earned a spot in the line up, and I’d like to see him re-signed for two more years. He, with Dorsett, and Moore, or Boyle have been a very effective line, and he brings some needed toughness to this team!!

  11. Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

    I don’t think it matters much. RFA’s don’t break the bank.
    I don’t know if it would be a no brainer but I think he’d get resigned.
    If the Rangers have the opportunity and they see enough from him in practice. They’d be crazy not to at least get a peek at him. Give him PP time and put him on the 4th line. I’d sit as many top players as possible. Nash, MSL, Stepan, Ritchie. The Wolf pack would be going to Montreal if I were GM. They better win too!

  12. Steven Cifuentes says:

    RFA forward Sather MO is to give a bridge deal. He only signs D to deals to buy our free agency. I see a Stepan like deal.

    Not a no-brainer…but I would re-sign him.

    Yes- I would likely call up Kristo also. There is no reason to risk some of our guys that are dinged up.

    Stepan can be a point a game guy if he scored more and worried a little less about D. He is a solid two way #2 center.

    Dorsett- While we had the Carcillo affect for a few games, Dorsett has proven he has more skill then Carcillo as that fourth line with Dorsett a much bigger threat.

  13. Niskanen of Pittsburgh is a UFA right handed defenseman who would help Rangers greatly. He’s better than Staal. Trading Staal who will never get any better & has been in decline for a couple of years now makes sense. Resigning RFA John Moore makes sense.

    With a defense of Girardi, McDonough, Niskanen, John Moore, Klein, & Diaz, Stralman, or Conor should be just fine.

    Of course that means McIlrath & maybe JT Miller will be gone.

    Maybe Rangers could move both McIlrath & Miller for Phila prospect Scott laughton, a 3rd line center similar to JT Miller, but better defensively.