The Rangers worked hard all season and it seems as though the Presidents Trophy curse is still alive this season. Playoffs are a time where every team is banged up, The Rangers looked at times as though they were lifeless. It turns out that some of the players had no energy to tap into as after the game the coach admitted that Rangers Captain Ryan McDonagh was playing on a broken foot and Kevin Weekes tweeted that Marc Staal was playing on a broken ankle. Everyone knew that Mats Zuccarello missed many games because of his concussion. Even with Henrik Lundqvist playing his best hockey, the Rangers would have been an easy out the next series without those three key players. It will be interesting in the next few days in the players exit physicals to see who else needs some sort of medical treatment due to injuries. It would seem that Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Dan Girardi, and Dan Boyle were all playing with some sort of issues.
Rick Nash's numbers don't look so bad this playoffs but there were many games where he was invisible The Rangers need to figure out if he is the type of player in the playoffs that they think can get them to win the Cup. Dan Girardi might have just been trying to do too much with his partner playing injured. Martin St. Louis during the regular season showed that he was slowing down and he was not present in the playoffs when the Rangers needed him the most. Dan Boyle came to the Rangers saying he wanted to be a difference maker, well he made the differenceby getting beat at key points in the Conference Finals. Has he hit the wall or does he have the one last season left? That is a huge question the Rangers brass will have to ask and figure out with either him as a top 5 dman or a 1.5 caphit as a buyout to make room for Brady Skjei.
The promising part of this years playoffs was that the core players overall played like they should. King Henrik was solid most of the playoffs, enough said. The defense did it's job, minus a few games. The Addition of Keith Yandle turned out to be a big plus and I would expect him to sign an extension this summer for close to $6 million per year for 5-7 years. When he came over from Arizona at the trade deadline, he played 21 games as a Blueshirt and scored 2 goals,9 asists for 11 points and was a +6. In the playoffs he played 19 games and scored 2 goals, 9 assists for 11 points and was a +7 throughout the playoff run. The offseason signing of Kevin Hayes was a steal. In his rookie year he played 79 games and scored 17 goals, 28 assists for 45 points and a +15. In the playoff run, he was 19 games for 2 goals, 5 asiists for 7 points and a -3. Jesper Fast had a good rookie year also playing in 58 games in a defensive forward role and even scored alittle going 6 goals, 8 assists for 14 points and a -1. In the playoffs Fast picked up his game going 19 games and 3 goals, 3assists for 6 points and a +1. J.T. Miller finally earned himself an NHL spot and played 58 games and scored 10 goals, 13 assists for 23 points and a +5. In the playoffs he even filled in for injured Zuccarello and played 19 games scoring 1 goal, 7 assists for 8 points and a +3. The rest of the main players such as Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello(before injured), and Dominic Moore gave you what was expected of them. The problem was that Martin St. Louis, Rick Nash, and Dan Boyle were clearly the weak links. This summer the Rangers have to figure out how to deal with those three.
It would seem as if the Rangers will want to bring up some players from within the system that are ready for primetime. Oscar Lindberg has been waiting patiently and is the needed faceoff man the Rangers are desperate for. Brady Skjei seems to be on the same track that Ryan McDonagh was a few years back, and Mackenzie Skapski at this time would be the heir apparent when the Rangers trade Cameron Talbot.
While Ranger fans recover from the dissapointment of the horrible Game 7 performance in front of the Garden Faithful, Rangers brass have questions they need to figure out. Does Jeff Gorton finally get promoted to General Manager since he does all the real work of a G.M. anyway? Do the Rangers buyout Dan Boyle and free up $3.5 million cap space? I say yes as they need to make room for Skjei. Do the Rangers resign Marty St. Louis? Unless MSL signs for $2 mil or less for a year, I say no way. What will the Rangers get for Cameron Talbot? Looking at what the Devils gave up for Schneider (a #9 overall pick), I would say a top 10 pick and prospect since Talbot only carries a $1.45 mil cap hit for next season. What will the Ranger pay to keep Derek Stepan? I will say between $5.75 and $6 mil per for 6-8 years. J.T Miller is a RFA, what will the Rangers sign him to? I say a 2 year deal for $1.5 mil per. Jesper Fast also a RFA, also a 2 year deal for $1.2 per. Hagelin who is also a RFA but has arbitration rights. I would say he isn't worth more than $3 mil per for 5 years and if he wants more than that let him sign an offer sheet and take the 1st and 3rd round picks as compensation and fill his spot with a player like Justin Williams who would join the Rangers for $3 mil a year and he is a proven playoff player willing to go into the "hard areas" where alot of Rangers don't like to go.
The Rangers had a very successful regular season winning the President's trophy as the NHL's best team. In the playoffs they cam 5 games short of the final goal. What changes will be made this offseason to help get the final goal. Hoping for a quick recovery on the injuries to Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, and Mats Zuccarello and whoever else we find out about in the next few days. The future still looks bright Ranger fans, but the window to do it with Hank is narrowing, I would say 4 more years!