New York Rangers Offseason Plan/Future Outlook

The New York Rangers will be regarded by many as a preseason favorite in the Atlantic Division, and a top contender in the Eastern Conference. Their 2nd half of 2006-07 was amazing and if they are able to maintain that level of play into the new season, they have a great chance to make a deep run in the playoffs.

There are however tweaks that need to be made to the roster to ensure this happening.I am of the mindset that a mixture of free agents and youth is what this team needs going into 2007-08. I think that the main priorities for the Rangers this offseason is to balance the open positions on the team between the free agents and the youth.

Forwards
It is imperative that Michael Nylander be brought back to center Martin Straka and Jaromir Jagr. The line has shown amazing chemistry over the past 2 years and that cannot be jeopardized. Nylander should sign for 4 years in the area of $4.5 Million.

It would be to the Rangers benefit to sign one of the premier free agents to center the 2nd line. It is my preference that they sign Chris Drury, who has shown a propensity to shine under the bright lights, and they don’t get much brighter than the Madison Square Garden ice. Rumors have him landing in San Jose, so I do feel that if that does happen, Scott Gomez is a viable 2nd option. Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan seem to play very well together and that is not something that should be broken up.

The key is to promote youth and allow them to spread their wings. Nigel Dawes and Brandon Dubinsky have earned the right to play for this team next year and I think they should fill in spots on the 4th line. Blair Betts is a very underappreciated member of this team and has earned his spot on the 3rd line, centering Cullen and the up and coming Ryan Callahan.

I feel that Petr Prucha has a bright future in the league but that it may serve him well to have that future somewhere else. The Rangers have a glutton of forwards coming up and I don’t feel that Prucha really fits into the Rangers long term plan. He could bring in quite a bounty if packaged with Al Montoya in a trade at some point either this offseason or during the season.

I don’t feel that Jed Ortmeyer needs to be resigned. I think he will command quite a salary on another team and the Rangers can afford to lose his services.

I would imagine the 07-08 Rangers forward lineup to look a little something like this.

Straka – Nylander – Jagr
Avery – Drury/Gomez – Shanahan
Cullen – Betts – Callahan
Dawes – Dubinsky – Hossa
Hollweg
Orr

Defense
Dan Girardi was quite a very pleasant surprise for the Rangers this year, and he has solidified his place with Fedor Tyutin on the 2nd pairing. These 2 players played amazingly well defensively against the Sabres in the playoffs and have shown some great chemistry together.

The Rangers fans love to hate Marek Malik, but we’re stuck with him for now, and he does tend to play decently well when paired with Michal Rozsival, the Rangers clear #1. The two of them maintain the top pairing.

Karel Rachunek was not qualified and his departure will open up a spot on the blue line. Marc Staal should be given every opportunity to earn a spot on this roster in the fall, and I think that he will. A pairing with Paul Mara, a steal in the Aaron Ward deal, will do him well. Thomas Pock can be the 7th defenseman.

I expect the Rangers defensive pairings to look a little like this.

Malik – Roszival
Tyutin – Girardi
Mara – Staal
Pock

Goaltending
Thankfully, the Rangers have found the long-awaited replacement to Mike Richter in Henrik Lundqvist. It is clear that Lundqvist will be the foundation of the team for the next decade, and Rangers fans cannot be happier.

I think Al Montoya would benefit from being Lundqvist’s backup this season, and the Rangers could benefit from his playing 25% of the games as a stage from which he could be traded. The Rangers can show this guy off and possibly make a great trade with him. If Montoya is moved, Stephen Valiquette will fill the shoes just fine. Kevin Weeks can be let go.

The Rangers goaltending depth chart should look like this.

Lundqvist
Montoya
Valiquette

Future Outlook
The Rangers have a bright future for 08-09 as well. It is my opinion that this is Shanahan’s last season in the NHL, and that the right wing spot will open up. Alex Bourret and Alexei Cherepanov could see significant time on Garden ice in 08-09.

Cherepanov and Bourret are both right wings, but its likely one of them may move to left. Depending on Cherepanov’s situation in Russia and how well he adapts to the North American style of play, Cherepanov could take a spot on the 2nd line, or Bourret could take that spot depending on his development in Hartford. This would also be the last year of Matt Cullen’s contract, which may open up a spot for Tom Pyatt if Cullen is moved.

It is my hope that Jaromir Jagr does not retire until Cherepanov has come here and made an impact, Jagr is clearly one of the best players in the world, and Rangers fans want him playing as long as possible. He still has it in him and he can play 3-4 more years.

Defensively, I would like to see how Bobby Sanguinetti and Michael Sauer develop, but Marc Staal should have solidified his spot at this point. Malik would most likely not be resigned, which would shake up the pairings a bit, but I would think the Tyutin/Girardi pairing would stick.

If Montoya has not been moved or been promoted to backup by now, he will be.

A VERY preliminary look at what the team MAY look like looks a little something like this.

Straka – Nylander – Jagr
Avery – Drury/Gomez – Cherepanov
Dawes – Betts – Bourret
Hossa – Dubinsky – Callahan
Byers
Pyatt

Rozsival – Staal
Tyutin – Girardi
Mara – Pock
Sanguinetti

The 08-09 lineup is just a very very prelimary look at what it might look like, just some ideas to play around with and spark discussion.

Fellow Rangers fans, time’s yours. What do you think?


17 Responses to New York Rangers Offseason Plan/Future Outlook

  1. jus93paq says:

    When you say 4 yr 4.5mil do you mean 4.5mil a year? If thats 4.5mil a year, thats a lot for a man who rarely shoots. Yet, if its 4.5 mil in 4 years, thats not a deal he would accept as hes worth much more. Either way, I wouldnt mind watching him walk. Let Straka center Jagr and Hossa/Callahan. I would love to see Cherepanov in the nhl this year. Also, I dont think Montoya would benefit as a backup this year, instead of limited play,  let him play in the minors and get some more ice time. Or let him go which you said, and I totally agree with Prucha. Go Rangers!

  2. mundus80 says:

    i think after training camp there will be many line up changes. this team if they sign nylander and shany will sign a big name or two and keep the young guns off the garden for another year. shany and jagr want to win a cup next year so i think some of the younger forwards will have to wait another year. we will see

  3. mundus80 says:

    i agree with you about Montoya he does not play well as a backup he needs more ice, then he plays his best.

  4. dm_4u says:

    Does anyone have any info on "Sugar" Sean Avery???

    I think I have heard every possible rumour about every possible player…with the exception of Avery…who is a RFA.

    What's up???

  5. mundus80 says:

    hes an RFA that the rangers want to sign, so he will stay with the team but my guess is the rangers will have to match an offer from another team.

  6. puckhead94 says:

    No. Avery doesn't want to go anywhere else. He's said he's found a home here and he loves it here. His signing is just a formality. He'll be back.

  7. mundus80 says:

    did you read what i said? i said hes staying, but the rangers will most likely have to match an offer from another team. why? its what agents do to get more money for a RFA.

  8. puckhead94 says:

    Yeah bro, I know what you're saying, but I just don't think it even gets to that. Like Henrik said, "I don't want to go anywhere else". Avery will just sign a deal, no other teams will even be involved. I know what you're saying as far as barganing chips (other teams and other deals) but with this guy, that's a non issue.

  9. flyersfan10897 says:

    Sorry, but no team will have a first-line center making 4.5 million and a second-line center making 5.5+ million.

  10. wheresthesoda says:

    cullen-callahan-prucha line generated a lot of scoring chances, and i believe a little more time to create more chemistry will lead to this line scoring a lot

  11. wheresthesoda says:

    Hossa has to play with Jagr, he's going to be a waste on the 4th line. When he was playing with Jagr he was getting ice time, which is the only place he'll get for him to score goals and rack up points.

  12. dewdrop11 says:

    Why is everyone so hot on shipping out Prucha? He's going into his third  year with the team, and while, granted last year wasn't a stellar as his first from a point production standpoint, this kid brings heart and EFFORT to this team. The thing that the Rangers have lacked for so long, and are finally revitalizing through the organization is the intangibles…doing the little things to make the plays…like forechecking and going into the corners. This kid is fearless…and I hope they keep him. Just my two cents…you can disagree.

    As for what the Rangers need….I also hope they keep Nylander. He needs to shoot more, but there is undeniable chemistry with him on this team and he showed up in the playoffs. Chemistry can not always be bought and it doesn't always work…so when you have it, you should make an effort to keep it. If he commands too much money they may have to let him walk, but I hope the attempt is made.
    With that said, what the rangers need most, as everyone knows is a second line center. For my money, I hope they get Drury. I don't see Gomez getting the job done – not in the way that they need. I think if they don't land Drury, you may see another name pop up that you wouldn't have even considered. Who, I don't know..but Sather has a knack for drumming up some deals that aren't always that obvious.
    As for Cherepanov…I think he's a year or two away…I hope Dubinsky and Callahan get a crack at the team…as I think they'll do well.
    Ortmeyer….not an offensive weapon but when it comes to shot blocking and penalty kills, he'll be missed if they don't sign him…hopefully they do or upgrade.
    I like where this team is going. I think if they go the UFA market for one or two pickups, and let the youth blossom, we'll be ok.
    Goaltending is solid and with Montoya, if they get him some ice time…could develop into one of the best goaltending tandems in the league…untested now..but the potential is there.
    Looking forward to 2008 already…
     
  13. ranger_fan says:

    Offensively I think that Straka could definately center Jagr and Hossa. Nylander and Jags have great chemistry but 4.5-5 can be used much more wisely. Nylander doesnt shoot enough, doesn't win nearly enough faceoffs, and makes me angry while taking 35 seconds to get from his zone to the opponents blue line. Ortmeyer is probably gone.

    I am feeling:
    Hossa Straka Jagr
    Avery Gomez Shanahan
    Prucha Cullen Callahan
    Dawes Betts Moore/Hollweg/Orr

    Next season Cherepanov takes Shannys spot

    Defensively it appears that with the exception of Rachunek departing nothing will change.

    Malik Rozival
    Tyuts Girardi
    Mara Pock
    Baranka/Sauer/Staal/Liffiton/Puritan… lol yeah that last one was a joke

    And sadly its looking like Valiquette will back up Henrik so Montoya will still get a lot of work in Hartford and hopefully an injury free season.

  14. ranger_fan says:

    Am I the only one who is drawing up comparisons between Prucha and Mike York? Sure Prucha has a little bit more scoring touch, but York was probably better all around. If teams like Prucha and are willing to offer up for him – I'd trade him..

    York is being passed over now and is underachieving so if we can get something 100000x better than Tom Pot[ty] lets do it

  15. mundus80 says:

    i like york too, hes got size and some pretty good wheels. he gives is all. but Prucha is a friend of jagrs so..

  16. mundus80 says:

    its getting close to july 1st, we will see

  17. MikeGartner says:

    I agree with you about Straka's ability to center the first line; the only question is his longevity.  The OP's article may have not been watching the whole season, as Hossa clearly was the starting winger on the first line before and after the knee injury. 

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