Don’t get caught looking ahead to the 2013 free agent crop

Now that Zach Parise is essentially off the table, you might be tempted to look ahead to the 2013 free agent class for potential offensive infusions for the Rangers’ lineup.  If you began to peruse the pages of CapGeek, your jaw might have dropped when you saw a potential group of unrestricted free agent forwards that could include a guy named Sidney Crosby.

Corey Perry is on the list, as are Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla, Jordan Staal, Scott Hartnell, Ryan Clowe, Joffrey Lupul, Valtteri Filppula, Patrik Elias, Nathan Horton, Travis Zajac, Mike Ribiero, David Clarkson, Stephen Weiss, Derek Roy, Teddy Purcell, and Viktor Stalberg.

You might be tempted to start wondering which of these guys could be worth pursuing, thinking that this year’s free agent crop feels like slim pickings and that Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan will be too costly on the trade market.

Of course, you should realize that most of these guys will ink new deals this year with their current teams.  You have a better chance of getting invited to one of Glen Sather’s golf outings than you do of seeing Crosby actually discussing a contract with another team.

It’s hard to ignore that the 2013 free agent crop does leave several intriguing possibilities, but before you go making premature roster moves in NHL 12, remember that it’s foolish to look ahead 12 months.  It’s impossible to predict which injuries might leave gaping holes (Mike Sauer and Marian Gaborik) and how the team will develop over the course of the next year (surprises like Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin).  The Rangers will be in a far different cap situation than they are now, the CBA is set to change and New York will have to dole out cash to its own free agents: Sauer, McDonagh, Hagelin, Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan.  Also, it’s absurdly risky to bank on a player ending up on your squad and plan around a move that hasn’t happened yet.

The Brad Richards deal last year was actually a foregone conclusion in many experts’ minds during the season, but it’s a rare instance when a player and team are connected months in advance.

Take small consolation in the fact that if the Rangers fail to upgrade their offense adequately this summer, there may be a second chance on the horizon.  Just don’t pencil Getzlaf onto New York’s second line quite yet.