New York! We have a problem

The New York Rangers finished their season on one of the lowest notes possible. Needing only a couple of victories down the stretch, they ultimately came up one victory short, and saw the rival Devils take the division yet again. They would continue their losing streak for the first 4 games of the playoffs, and that was it for one of the cinderella stories of 05-06. As training camp arrives, fellow Ranger fans, we have a problem… The Rangers have too many solid kids ready and not enough roster space for them! …I never said the problem was a bad one.

Starting off- Don’t fear Ranger fans, with Slats and Renney at the helm, the Rangers should capture their first Atlantic title in a long while. I will admit I was very skeptical of Renney, even bashed last team before the season starting saying their biggest mistake was not getting Ken Hitch *****, and letting him go to the Flyers. But that is the past, and Tom did not repeat the same mistake in NY that he did in Vancouver. He was still hands on with the team, but allowed the superstars… ok well Jagr, their space.

Now, the Rangers should be the odds on favorite to win the Atlantic. They are the only team to improve that is in the running for the title. I could not begin to speculate about what Lou will do to get his team ready for the next season, but even with Marty Brodeur, and Patrik Elias they lack the depth necessary to win as many games as they did last year.

The Flyers are still too slow on the blue line, and I don’t see how the Flyers improved. Forsberg will be back shortly, until he gets a hangnail. Umberger and Carter did get more experience, but they are still missing a true #1 goalie, and offensive depth isn’t there after their first two lines. Defensively they are old and brittle, slow and overpaid. I can not see the Flyers doing much this season unless Forsberg does stay healthy.

I don’t think I will waste my time, or your time with the Islanders and the Penguins. Islanders are in shambles, and Charles Wang has ruined this team. I do believe he needs to be bought out, and the Islanders need to relocate. I don’t say this because I hate the Islanders, but how many other major sports leagues have 3 NYC/NJ teams? It’s too much, and just think – the NHL would get more exposure relocating to the Pacific Northwest, or Kansas City. If the NHL isn’t looking to expand their fan base, how about strengthening it with a team back in Quebec City or Winnipeg?

Pittsburgh shouldn’t have to relocate. I see rumour after rumour and post after post about the Pens relocating. Why? I haven’t followed or wasted my time on every little detail on this story, but I think there was a billionaire from Connecticut who was leading, and if he/the city can fund an arena, the Pens should stay. They will be a powerhouse in 4-5 years if they do anything correctly. But for this year, they will yet again get a top 5 pick. Yes Malkin is signed and injured, and they have two centres that will get 20+ goals this season. But that is not enough. There is little defensive support, and Fleury is good, but I think these seasons are ruining him and his confidence. Sorry Pens fans that you had to hear it from me, but the odds of you making the playoffs this season is about the same as Eklund being right before TSN reports something. [Btw I feel sorry for those of you who wasted your money and your time over there. Leetch will not be a Ranger, Carter he wasn’t even close on and the list continues? I love it best when I see conflicting stories from another member who is just saying Eklund is wrong] I will respond to the comments coming with “How do you know some much about what’s happening if you don’t frequent the page?” Let’s just say I get paid at work to sit my but behind a computer with internet access and I have a lot of free time.

Yet again I am getting off-topic so back to the Rangers for good. The goaltending is probably one of the best in the league. Where else in the NHL will you see a strong #1, a very solid backup, and another star in the making just waiting in the AHL? Can anyone come up with a better tandem than Lundqvist, Weekes, and Montoya?

Defensively, there are no all-stars, but a solid group none-the-less. This should be a strong season for Fedor Tyutin, and perhaps a breakout year for Rachunek and Pock. Aaron Ward was a very under rated signing, and bring back Rozival, a healthy Kasparitis, and our comedic giant – Malik, and there is a strong 6. [Hopefully Ozolinsh will check himself back into the substance abuse clinic, and not hurt this team. It’s not that I don’t have any heart, but didn’t he get another DWI over the summer?] We also have two excellent prospects in Staal and Sanguinetti, and another solid prospect in Sauer if he will stay healthy. Ivan Baranka should be on this team, and Girardi has been quietly good in camp. To sum it up, the defense is solid, with a lot of depth, but we still are lacking offense on the blue line, and with all the depth, the odds of Leetch playing here are very slim. *I would like to go on record for actually agreeing with Joe Micheletti. Staal back to juniors would be very bad, and unbeneficial. He does need to be in Hartford.*

Offensively the Rangers are better. A lot of depth, and yet again, and it’s going to prevent a couple of guys who deserve to be in the NHL from getting there to start the season. Jagr Nylander and probably Straka will be on the first line, with Prucha Cullen and Shanny making the second. If I am correct, that means these rookies will not be seeing a heck of a lot of time. Betts, Ward, and Adam Hall could be another line, and finally Hossa, Holleweg and Colton Orr. Yes Ranger fans, we just filled out 4 lines without any rookies in there. That means Immonen, Dawes, and Dubinsky might not be regulars until an injury or trade happens. And don’t forget that Ortmeyer will be coming back in a couple of months, and we will have yet another dilemma.

All in all, I would like to predict that the Rangers will be in the playoffs, probably with home ice advantage in the first round and could even advance. There is plenty of depth in NY, so much that I question some of the resigning that the Rangers did. I welcome the role players Ward and Cullen because you can never have too many like them. NY’s future looks very good, and last year was the beginning of a new era, and this year could be the start of a dynasty! …well may be I went a little too far there, but I never know how to end these articles. So I’ll continue…

***I would like to revisit the trade offer I had proposed when the thread of Zherdev on the block came up. I said lets offer Rozival, Immonen, and either a pick or someone along the lines of Baranka, or Fardaleau to pick up the Russian. I was blasted at the time because I was told there was no way we could part with Immonen. And for those fans [that do not follow the Rangers kids closely, and just go to hockeysfuture.com] who have seen these kids in camp; would anyone reconsider? Zherdev has since been resigned and is probably off the block (assuming he was on it to begin with). But Dubinsky has impressed me with the intangibles more so than Immonen and fits the Rangers mold better. I think I liked Dawes just as much as Immonen as well. With Zherdev, we would have gotten an offensive force for the future, which really we don’t have young, top line player to replace Jagr.***

That’s all for now, and LETS GO RANGERS!


16 Responses to New York! We have a problem

  1. wheresthesoda says:

    whats going on with this comment formatting, havent been here in awhile. anyway i went to the preseason game last night, and have watched the others on MSG. I have been more impressed with immonen, that he has natural talent with deflecting pucks in, and he is great on faceoffs for a younger guy. Dubinsky on the other hand, is a lot more physical than Immonen, put a guy through the boards last night.

    Dawes has a great shot, scored in puerto rico, looked like shannahan shot that. Colton Orr, has impressed me more than anyone thus far, he is in great shape, and actually drawing penalties, and setting guys like greg moore wide open in the slot. We've got a lot more depth this year, and i hope to see we make it past the first round.

    Also, relax about replacing Jagr, we still have 3, 4 years to really worry about it. and u gotta think about prucha, dawes guys of this caliber that will be able to step up when Jagr retires, or leaves the organization.

  2. ranger_fan says:

    Do you mean the fact that it just says Read the rest of this comment and nothing more until you click respond. Thats bothing the hell out of me.

    I think there is a difference between naturally talented and being a good player. Yeah that was a nice deflection, but other than waiting in the offensive zone, he has seemed inconsistently elsewhere and doesn't have a defensive sense or physical presence.

    I think anytime you can get a potentially elite player, you take a shot. We know he won't be a Pavol Brendl.

  3. Doctor says:

    "Defensively, there are no all-stars, but a solid group none-the-less. This should be a strong season for Fedor Tyutin, and perhaps a breakout year for Rachunek and Pock."

    I think this will be Fedor Tyutin's breakout year. He will be a repeat all star. The kid can flat out play the most responsible defense.

    Unfortunately, I think Pock is going to be a drifter. Eventually even a journey man. He just fits that characteristic and his speed is appealing enough for quite a few teams to sample him. For years I said Pock would be a starter in NY, but I've come to realize that his defense is not solid enough.

  4. beckfan05 says:

    Guess you didnt read todays papers. Staal cant play in Hartford. He either has to play on the Rangers the whole season or go back to his junior club.

  5. ranger_fan says:

    Tyutin has played solid, and may be offensively a breakout season, but thats only if he gets an opportunity. I think Ward will help him out and make him a better player too.

    Pock is a little shaky defensively, but I'd take him over Ozolinsh! I think he just needs to have a little better work ethic, and listen to the coaches. You don't get better in your own end by not playing. Maxim Kondratiev was the same way

  6. ranger_fan says:

    I guess I forgot to add in that I think that needed to be changed. I remember hearing Joe say he couldn't go to the AHL, but it would be his best fit as a player. The fingers couldn't keep up with the mind

  7. tancred says:

    I don't think you're giving the other teams in the Atlantic enough credit.  Believe me, I wish the Flyers would be the pushover you seem to imply, but I don't think they will be.  The Flyers have added Sanderson and Baumgartner, and that's an improvement (maybe I've just always liked Sanderson from his days with the Whale, I don't know).  Their young forwards are to be envied, and have another year under their belts.  

    The Devils haven't had any major subtractions from last year's roster (yet), and yet they won't be able to win as many games as last year?  Shouldn't the fact that the NJ roster won't be finalized until Lou makes whatever moves he has to in order to get under the cap be something to consider before totally writing them off?  In my mind, just the fact that Elias will be around from the very beginning should be an improvement for the Devils over last year.  
    Everyone laughs at the Islanders now, and there are some good reasons to do so.  However, as far as player personel movements, I really do like some of the additions they've made.  Mostly Mike Sillinger, but Sean Hill, Viktor Kozlov, and Chris Simon are also decent.  
    The Pens are improved.  Evgeni Malkin, Nils Ekman, and Mark Eaton are all improvements, imo.  
    Almost no one is giving the Isles or Pens a chance, and that makes them dangerous.  There are low expectations, and they could end up surprising a lot of teams.  The Flyers and Devils are still strong.  I'm not disagreeing with your positive assessment of the Rangers (except maybe the goaltending; I'd rather have the Sharks', Ducks', Sabres', and Canadiens' tandems and AHL goalie prospects).  I'm only saying that you shouldn't be too quick to hand them the divisional title.  No season games have even been played yet. 
  8. cecilturtle says:

    The Devils are better than the Rangers (this year) as well as every other NHL team.  The Devils are stacked with talent and Lou is way to smart to not find a way to keep all the players he wants.  No NHL team currenty has a more talented roster and I see the Devils as having the best chance of anyone to win the cup this year.  But over the next decade… I would not trade the Rangers roster for any other teams roster.  No way!  Slats is building a Rangers dynasty for us here in New York, unfortunately it might "???" take another year or two?  Enjoy the show – starting October 10th at MSG = the worlds most famous arena!  

  9. Kamakaze says:

    I agree.. this is one of the toughest Divisions in the league, amplified by the very close proximity of the teams, and crazy rivalries (Devils-Rangers, Devils-Flyers, Flyers-Pens, Rangers-Isles).The Devils, Rangers and Flyers are all very good teams. The Devils lack scoring punch, the Flyers lack goaltending and defensive speed, the Rangers lack true defensive defensemen or veteran checkers. On a given night, any one of these teams could route the other…The thing is, the Pens are VERY good offensivly, and have the potential to score like 7 goals if they got it together… (though they would end up giving up 10…) and the Isles, while nothing spectacular, are talented (while unmotivated), and always seem to play a hard game against the Rangers.I expect more of the same thing next year, Devils, Rangers and Flyers all battling for a top playoff spot, while the Isles and Pens cause all kinds of headaches…Once again I think it will come down to a hotstreak for tops in the Atlantic…

  10. wingerxxx says:

    It's a very exciting time to be a Rangers fan right now.  Although I'm a little concerned about the power play, I think that the Rangers are definitely bound for the playoffs.  The roster is intact from last year, minus Sykora and Rucinsky, who were not necessary to bring back.  Shanahan and Hall add that missing size up front, and it looks like Prucha hasn't lost a beat. 

    It can be said that the Rangers are nothing without Jagr, but they are in reality, building around him.  Which is a strategy used around the league.  Jagr is to the Rangers, what Forsberg is to the Flyers, and Thornton is to the Sharks. 

    The rookies should get a pretty good amount of ice time this year, on the 3rd and 4th lines.  They shouldn't be rushed.  Also, consider that injuries will play a part in this too. 

    I'm a little worried about some fans thinking that this will be an "All Star" year for Tyutin.  I don't think he'll make that jump just yet.  But he'll definitely improve, and probably do a little better on the power play, given the added weapon of Shanahan on the man advantage.  If Ozolinsh makes it back in time, both he and Tyutin could form a pretty decent point combo. 

    Incidentally, I am totally against the Islanders moving.  I love the rivalry, and I'd like for them to stay put.  They are Long Island's very own.  They have a proud franchise, Charles Wang not withstanding.  And keep in mind that Wang saved this team from the horrific previous ownership.  He might be wild, but he loves his team. 

    I highly doubt the Jackets would take that trade offer for Zherdev.  They will want immediate help for him, not just a package of prospects. 

  11. JoeyNYR says:

    I am one of the biggest Ranger fans but how is it that the Islanders have a bad team? They really improved from last year (on paper of course). The Rangers should not have traded Immonen and any prospects because they don't need another winger. If they were trading for a super star center then maybe…but they will not push prucha back to line 3 and I don't know if Zhederev would play there either.

  12. NjDEVSFN says:

    as tancred wrote, and every Devils fan knows, having Elias from Game 1 is an incredible improvement over last season

    true, we may lose 1 or 2 due to Cap issues, but its not like the Devils wont have someone to fill their skates

    the Devils still have "an interchangable flock of forwards"

    while the Devils cannot completely replace Rafalski (likely trade w/$4.2M salary), Johnny Oduya and Andy Greene have played incredibly well this preseason. it may take a year to produce like Rafalski, but Oduya has skill, size, and confidence, a deadly combination.

    madden may be the only tradable player the Devils cannot replace. HOWEVER, he is not the primary player that sticks to the other teams star, that is Jay "The Shadow" pandolfo. sergei brylin can take madden's place, with travis zajac on line 2

    nevertheless, Madden is the typical, Devils 2-way player and he would be missed.

    the Devils havent lost anyone important yet, and if they manage to lose NONE of the core they are improved over last season.

  13. beckfan05 says:

    I dont know who your watching but Kozlov is a piece of crap.

  14. tancred says:

    I said Kozlov was among the “decent” acquisitions by the Islanders. Not “excellent,” “awesome,” or anything that would imply that he’s the one who will bring them to the Cup.

    Remember Alexander Ovechkin’s game-winning goal for Russia against Canada in this past Olympics? It was Kozlov who was doing most of the cycling in Canada’s zone, and who set up Ovechkin with an excellent pass. The guy has major talent. He just needs something (I don’t know what) to spark him in to using it on a nightly basis. Maybe Coach Nolan will be that hard and harsh coach to be that spark for Kozlov.

  15. Dynamo710 says:

    Well, Dubinsky was just assigned to Hartford and Staal was reassigned to Sudbury, so that clears up a lot of questions with whos staying/going. The forwards are set:

    Straka Nylander Jagr
    Prucha Cullen Shanahan
    Hossa/Dawes Betts Ward
    Hollweg/Orr Immonen Hall

    Defense still has some questions: The health of Roszival and Kaspar’s overall conditioning, but as it stands:

    Tjutin Kaspar
    Malik Roszival
    Ward Rachunek/Pock/Baranka

    Lundqvist
    Weekes
    Valiquette

    If weekes groin isn’t ready, Valiquette will assume backup duties. Otherwise I don’t see how both Valiquette and Weekes can be kept because neither would be sent down to Hartford with Montoya/Holt there. Perhaps one of them will be dealt, or Holt will go back to Charlotte so Valiquette can back up Montoya in Hartford.

  16. nyrhockey094 says:

    Did you forget that this is the salary cap era Cecil? That means Gioanta or Gomez must go. Also Brodeur is 35 years old, hes getting up there in age. Devils are not the best team in the Nhl, I actually find that quite a funny statement. Elias is a complete player but I dont see how Lou can fix his way out of this one. Hes running out of time season starts Wed.

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