In what otherwise was a memorable season for the Rangers, it ended with expectations of moving on to the Stanley Cup finals, but just fell short by 1 game and an overtime goal. This season found Henrik Lundqvist as a Vezina favorite and Hart finalist and clearly the Rangers MVP. More kids were added to the core group of Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov, and Henrik Lundqvist. Ryan Mcdonagh played his first full season in the NHL and becoming a 1st line defenseman. Carl Hagelin became an NHL speedster and top 6 forward and getting an invite to the All-Star game as a Future Star.
Chris Kreider joined the Rangers for the playoffs and showed why he is going to be an NHL star. Now the question is, will the Rangers trade in some future stars for the present? Over the next few blogs, I will go over who I think will stay, who should go, and those that I think will be in play throughout the Rangers Organization. Today, This is a look at this teams top 29 Rangers that were with the Rangers in the playoff run getting the feel of the drive and commitment to go for the Stanley Cup. First we will look at the 15 Ranger forwards under contract, restricted free agents, and then unrestricted free agents:
Marian Gaborik--Gaborik had a bounce back season with 41g 35a 76pts and 11pts in 20 playoff games. Gaborik has to do better than 5 goals in 20 playoff games. I can see Tort's looking to have him moved even though Gabby has a NTC. SIGNED 2 more seasons then UFA
Brad Richards--Richards did a great job adjusting to New York with 25g 41a 66 pts and 6g 9a 15 pts in 20 playoff games. He brings the pro game that settles the younger players down and is a key part to the Rangers future. SIGNED for 8 more seasons then UFA
Ryan Callahan--As Captain, he embodies what the Rangers are all about, all-out effort and heart. What he brings to a game can't always be seen along with 29g 25a 54pts and 6g 4a 10 pts in 20 playoff games. THE KEY to the Rangers.SIGNED for 2 more seasons then UFA
Derek Stepan--In his first 2 seasons in New York, Stepan has played them all. He had a sligh drop off of 6 pts from last year with 17g 34a 51pts but while getting 0 pts in last years playoffs, Derek was 1g 8a 9pts. Part of the core group for years to come.SIGNED for 1 more season then RFA
Carl Hagelin--Hagelin stepped right into the Rangers lineup and played 64 games while getting 14g 24a 38pts but was suspended for 3 playoff games and dropped to 0g 3a 3 pts. Look for his to be so much better next season and have a playoff upgrade along the lines of Stepan did this year from his rookie season.SIGNED for 1 more season than RFA
Artem Anisimov--He missed his first 3 games of his 3 year NHL career and dropped 8pts from last season. He has progressed his game to what the Rangers want and went from a -2 player his rookie season , a +3 player sophmore year , and a +12 this season. Anisimov exploded in the playoffs for 3g 7a 10 pts in his 20 games. Teams will look for him this offseason and I think he could be added into a megaplayer deal. SIGNED for 1 more season then RFA
Brandon Dubinsky--Dubi had a 20 point dropoff from last season and was injured in the playoffs and in 9 games got only 2 assists. Although he is a part of the core group, I see him being a part in any deal the Rangers make. I think we have seen the last of Dubi as a Ranger.SIGNED for 3 more seasons.
Brian Boyle--Boiler had a 10 goal deficit this year from last. He worked hard on his skating 2 years ago and he scored 21 goals. He is the Rangers current best faceoff man at this point but can easily see the Rangers add a faceoff specialist this offseason. A solid 3/4th line center and team player.SIGNED for 2 more seasons then UFA
Brandon Prust--Heart and Soul player of the Rangers. Dropped his gloves 20 times for his team. Only gets 5g 12a 17 pts but intangibles are unbelievable. He is an UFA this offseason and can easily see the Rangers double his salary for a multi-year deal. UFA-- Prediction--RESIGNED for 1.5-1.7 mil per year for 3/4 years.
Mike Rupp--Rupp started the season off injured and his most memorable moment this season was his goal in the WINTER CLASSIC and the Jagr salute to celebrate. Only averaged around 6 minutes per game for some reason. He seems to be the big body that the Rangers need in front of the net on the powerplay, go figure. SIGNED for 2 more seasons then UFA
Mats Zuccarello--Mats played most of the season playing well for the Rangers AHL Whale. He was called up and seemed to ignite the Rangers powerplay until going down with a season ending wrist injury. Is reported to have signed a contract with a KHL club in which he tweeted wasn't true and hopes to be back in N.Y.C. next season. RFA. Prediction--QUALIFIED for his 1 way contract for $850,500 per capgeek.com
Chris Kreider--After finishing his college career as a National Champ again, he joined the Rangers and went 5g 2a 7 pts while getting only bonus money and getting 1 year closer to his RFA season. He showed every sign of being a future NHL star. SIGNED for 2 more seasons then RFA
Kris Newbury--The AHL Whale's captain has earned another contract and could be sought after by teams looking for a rough 3/4th line center with great leadership qualities. UFA. Prediction--Rangers will sign him to a 2 way NHL contract with an upgrade of his $250,000 AHL contract he earned this year. NOT on Rangers NHL team.
John Mitchell--Rangers 4th line center/forward played the role that Coach Tortorella needed. He was 5g 11a 16 pts in 63 games was was invisible in the playoff run. UFA. NOT with Rangers Organization next season Ruslan Fedotenko-- A Tortorella favorite had 9g 11a 20 pts in 73 regular season games. He was brought in for the playoffs and went 2g 5 a 7pts in 20 games. UFA. RESIGNED for 1 more season and a 4th liner only if he accepts a paycut to around $1 million. Would rather see this spot be filled by J.T. Miller or Zuccarello.
John Scott--Who?? John Scott was traded for a 5th round draft choice. He was brought on so that the Rangers wouldn't get bounced around. How was he supposed to do that not dressing? UFA. Already gone!!
This is just a look at the forwards that were available to play for the Rangers in this seasons playoff from roster spots and callups once the Whale were knocked out of their own playoffs. Next will be a look at the defensemen and Goaltenders. SO to recap, the forwards I would like to see moved aside and make room for either kids or better players are John Mitchell, Ruslan Fedetenko, Kris Newbury, Brandon Dubinsky, and maybe Brian Boyle. Young Rangers I would love to see get a legit chance is J.T. Miller, Mats Zuccarello, and Jesper Fasth (Jesper Fast changed his name and signed a contract yesterday with the Rangers which makes him making the roster now a legitimate option).
Part 2 will look at the Rangers defense and goaltending from this years playoff roster. While the Rangers forwards could see a change, the defense and goaltending should see the main players already in position. With Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes, the Rangers always have a chance to win every game. Add solid defensemen and the Rangers become an elite team.
Dan Girardi: Girardi was an iron man in playing all 82 regular season games against the opponents top players night in and night out. He became the shitdown dman the Rangers needed when MArc Staal was down and also chipped in with 5g 24a 29pts. In the 20 playoff games, Girardi took it to another level scoring 3g 9a 12pts while shutting down opponents stars while playing around 28+ minutes on most nights.SIGNED 2 more years then UFA
Ryan McDonagh: The Rangers biggest surprise in his firts full season in the NHL. McDonagh stepped in for Marc Staal averaging 25+ minutes per game as a partner for Girardi. McDonagh also played 82 games and added 7g 25a 32 pts. When the playoffs came around, McDonagh played well but saw his offensive output slow down to 0g 4a 4pts. SIGNED 1 more year then RFA.
Marc Staal: Staal started the season still recovering from the concussion he suffered last year. He returned to play in the Winter Classic and played 46 regular season games trying to get his game back to where it was before the injury. He went 2g 3a 5pts. As the playoffs came, Staal's game was back and in the 20 games he went 3g 3a 6pts. SIGNED 3 more seasons then UFA
Michael Del Zotto: DZ had a great bounce back year from his sophmore slump leading the Rangers defense in scoring in the 77 games played going 10g 31a 41pts. In the playoffs, DZ started off strong but ended the last 3 games after his grandmother passed away poorly and finished the 20 games played 2g 8a 10pts. RFA --(Can see the Rangers giving a 2 year extension for 1.8 per like Dubinsky, hopefully not with the bad feelings caused then).
Michael Sauer: When healthy is a top 4 defenseman on the Rangers but only got to play 19 games due to suffering a concussion from Dion Phanuef. His stats were 1g 2a 3pts but his important stat was +9. It doesn't look like he will be healthy enough for the start of camp next season.SIGNED 1 more year then UFA
Anton Stralman: Joined the Rangers in midseason and played 53 games for the Blueshirts going 2g 16a 18pts. He played well in the playoffs going 3g 3a 6pts. RFA (Rangers should qualify but sounds like he wants to go back home to Sweden) GONE
Stu Bickel: Bickel played an important role for the Rangers. he played in 51 games going 0g 9a 9pts. His most memorable moment for Rangers fans was when he beat the Devils Carter like a baby seal during a polar bear attack. He played in 18 playoff games but didn't play enough to make a difference. UFA--GONE
Steve Eminger: Eminger played in 42 games this season going 2g 3a 5pts but never played enough to make a prescence. He also got in 4 playoff games but never made any impression. UFA--GONE
Jeff Woywitka: Started the season off well playing in 27 games. He went 1g 5a 6pts but never played after New Years. Was never thought of again. UFA--GONE
Henrik Lundqvist: Had a HART, VEZINA, and RANGER MVP season. In 62 games, he was 39-18-5 and 8 shutouts going 1.97 G.A.A. and a .930% save percentage. In the playoffs he was 10-10 (losing 3 games in overtime) 3 shutouts 1.82 G.A.A. and a .931% save percentage. SIGNED 2 more years then UFA
Marty Biron: The perfect backup for The King. Played in 21 games going 12-6-2 with a .904% save percentage and 2.46 G.A.A. and 2 shutouts. Although a great team guy, he might want to try being a starter. UFA--the Rangers should double his salary to 1.6 million per and offer 2 years. GONE
Although it seems as if the Rangers top 4 will be Girardi, McDonagh, Stall, and DelZotto; it could change if the Rangers make a blockbuster heal to get Nash and/or Iginla where DelZotto or Tim Erixon could be used as a trade chip. The Rangers are going to go BIGTIME after McDonagh and Derek Stepan teammate Justin Schultz for a top 4 spot.
Part 3 will be the rest of the Rangers prospects and who should stay and who should go. The Rangers are going to have to let some prospects and RFA/UFA to make room for the next group of prospects. LET'S GO RANGERS!!