Rangers will battle history to win the Stanley CupAugust 18, 2014, by
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.
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.