Rangers will battle history to win the Stanley Cup

August 18, 2014, by
The best trophy in sports

The best trophy in sports

Three hockey clubs in 47 years. The 2009 Penguins. The 1984 Oilers. The 1968 Canadiens. They are the only three hockey clubs in the Post-Original Six expansion era to win the Stanley Cup the year after they challenged for it and lost. Not exactly favorable odds.

Those three clubs weren’t exactly one hit wonders either. The Canadiens of that era helped brand their organization for a long time as the Yankees of the NHL. The Oilers of the 80s were the last of a dying breed in pro sports — a dynasty. Though they never lived up to their potential, the Crosby-led Penguins were at least expected to challenge for the Cup a few more times following their 2009 victory. They didn’t and now Bylsma and Shero are unemployed.

So will the Rangers defy history and do the unthinkable?

I certainly hope so. We may not get the result, but I’m confident we’re at least getting the process right this offseason. And as I have remarked many times on this site, getting the process right and putting yourself in a position to succeed is all you can ever really ask for. The rest is all gravy.

Speaking of the process, the moves the Rangers made this summer should put us in a good position.

Letting Pouliot go was a good move. His 30-35 point production will be replaced by Lee Stempniak . Pouliot’s boneheaded, ill-timed penalties won’t be missed either.

Stralman was certainly a workhorse and a darling to the advanced stats crowd, but he added nothing offensively. And while Dan Boyle is not as good in the defensive zone as Stralman, he’ll certainly put more rubber on net from the blueline, which was sorely needed for a defensive group that has lacked imagination, especially on the PP.

The additions of Tanner Glass and Matt Lombardi, plus the potential in Jesper Fast and Ryan Bourque made Derek Dorsett, Brian Boyle, and Daniel Carcillo expendable.

There will likely be somewhat of a learning curve in the early goings. However, over the course of the season I think Glass will be more valuable than Carcillo/Dorsett, who were both undisciplined players and couldn’t be counted on for PK work. Lombardi has a chance to bring more  offense and puck possession than Brian Boyle. If Fast or Bourque crack the lineup and live up to their potential, Dom Moore could have better flanks than last year.

The only real concern is replacing Brad Richards in the short-term. Brassard will be expected to elevate his game and hopefully pass the 50 pt mark for the first time in his career. Counting on either Lindberg or JT Miller to fill in for Brass’ old role (3rd line center) may be a tall order.

Either way, this is still a strong roster with one of the best goalies in the world, a strong, mobile defense, and offensive depth. When you have those things in place, goods things will happen.

Categories : Offseason


  1. Walt says:

    I hate saying this, but the stars aligned perfectly last season, a little luck, and we where in the finals. That stated, we can be there again, if the cards fall the way they should, and a few breaks come our way.

    On paper the team looks stronger, but the game is played on the ice, not on paper. It’s tough as hell to repeat playing for the cup in consecutive years, but we stand a good chance.

    Personally, I’m pulling for JT Miller to make the team, show his stuff as a 3rd line center, and develop into a very good player. Maybe we get lucky and sign the Hayes kid, with him on the 3rd line, along side of Hags, and Miller, that can be a nice line!!!!!

  2. Dave says:

    My biggest question is going to be with Dan Boyle. He was brought in to replace Richards and Stralman, but has had declining production for a couple years now. He’s on the right side of the possession arrow though.

    Regarding Stralman, he always made the smart pass in the DZ to start the breakout. It was the simple pass up the boards that helped get the rush going. It never showed up on the scoresheet though.

  3. John says:

    I’m excited for a full season from a more mature Kreider, a full healthy season from Nash, and a full season of Marty. Those factors will make our top 6 more dangerous from last year.

    I also believe Miller, after a few growing pains in the beginning, will transition nicely into the 3C role. I also feel Stempniak is a strong replacement for Pouliot, and while I thought Stralmans deal was manageable, having Dan Boyle for two years gives some of our defensive prospects some more time to develop, specifically Brady Skjei.

    Hopefully we can repeat, but I still see us finishing in the top 2 or 3 spots in the division.

  4. bloomer says:

    I share the suits optimism that the rangers will ice a very competitive team this year. The key will be a good training camp and out of the gate quickly. Av needs to ensure his team is ready for the drop of the puck on opening night. The new additions are solid and the rangers formidable defence remains intact. Just need to sign john moore as I believe he still has lots of untapped potential particularly in the physically and offensive areas of his game.

  5. Andy says:

    I’m actually happy the cap was low this year – it prevented Slats and co. from doing their annual Big Dumb Move.

    I also think that this team has put itself into good position to contend long term. Key guys will be locked up, and when the cap goes up, the quality of depth acquisitions will improve. Also, interesting rookies like DuClair, Buchnevich, Skjei, and Haggerty will be ready to make the jump.

  6. Andy says:

    Also, don’t forget about the 2007 Ducks, 2006 ‘Canes, and ’89 Flames – lost in the final, then won in five years.

  7. WilliamW says:

    Agree that the process this summer was for the most part correct. Pouliot, Stralman and B. Boyle were all strong depth players but the cost of keeping them, both in $ and term, was prohibative. Replacing them are comparable players with more favorable contracts. Glass being the exception but he seemed hand selected by AV so I can accept the thinking.

    The top 6 should be better with full seasons from St. Louis and Nash and continued development of Kreider, Stepan, Brassard and Zuc.

    Replacing Richards will be the biggest concern. D. Boyle should do that on PP and Brassard/Miller have the skills to handle the 5v5. Whether they are able to provide strength and depth in the middle of the line-up will be crucial

    The team is well positioned to compete for the cup over the near-term with a strong young core, established stars, veteran role players and talented prospects

  8. Ray says:

    I do not understand the fascination with Glass on the PK. He is awful. Not that it matters. A team only uses three of its eight wings on the PK and so this not the crucial skill that it is with centers. Moreover, the Rangers have four of the best in MSL, Nash, Zuke, Hags. The Rangers corps is so good that getting rid of Callahan actually helped the PK and surely you don’t think Glass is as good as Cally.

    I’d prefer Carcillo to Glass here, as I am confident that AV wouldn’t let Carcillo PK.

    • The Suit says:

      It’s not so much of a fascination as it is a reality of how his previous coaches have used him. AV said he could play him on the PK. Not sure if that will happen, but it’s worth mentioning.

  9. Becky says:

    Suit, reading the title alone made me break out in hives. Thanks for the memories

  10. Kevin mccarthy says:

    Why not lombardi as third line center and miller if he makes cut as a winger?