Note: This post was written prior to last night’s 3-2 loss to Atlanta. Due to limited internet, I could not post until now.
With Saturday night’s loss to the Sabres (a well played loss), the Rangers are now officially under .500. It took a while to get there, but that seven-game win streak to start the season really fooled a lot of us. After that 7-1 start, the Rangers have won just 7 of their next 23 games. Yes folks, the Rangers have gone 7-14-2 since that win streak was snapped.
The fact of the matter is that this team is underachieving. The defense has been god awful, the secondary scoring has been non-existent, there have been too many lazy penalties, and the goaltending has been shaky. If it wasn’t for Marian Gaborik, and for a few games, Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers would be the laughing stock of the league.
The Rangers have tried every in house option, aside from Corey Locke, to try and fix their problems. None succeeeded (note: Ilkka Heikkinen’s stay is still a work in progress, so we shall see). Management tried to fix scoring woes with other teams garbage (see: Christensen, Erik). That also is a work in progress, but I don’t expect much from it. Personally, I don’t see Locke as a viable option. He is 26, and although he is playing at a point-per-game pace in the AHL, I don’t think it will translate to the NHL level. After all, Parenteau is a point-per-game player in the AHL as well.
There are very few, if any, out of house options for the Rangers that can help. The Rangers cap problems severely limit their ability to make any trade for a player that will fill a hole. At a time when cap space is at a premium, the Rangers are actually in the red. They cannot make a deal for some scoring help, and the contracts to Chris Drury, Wade Redden, and Michal Rozsival handcuffed the Rangers when attempting to sign the one defenseman they truly needed: Mike Komisarek. Ryan McDonagh can’t come soon enough.
With all of the in house experiments failed, and no out of the organization options available, it may be time for us to sit back and realize that these are the cards we have been dealt for this season. If this play continues, you can expect the Rangers to be out of the playoff picture before the deadline.
Of course, this could all change with one winning streak. Hockey is fickle like that. If Lundqvist finds a way to stop dropping his glove slightly on every shot; if players like Drury, Callahan, Avery and Kotalik start finding the net; if the defense finds its game; the Rangers could be a force to be reckoned with. That, of course, is a lot of if’s.