oThe first two seasons under Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, the Rangers responded from the Tortorella type tyrant type coaching by rewarding Vigneault for his calmer and what publicly seemed to be a more positive atmosphere with a Stanley Cup Final in year 1 and the Presidents Trophy for regular season best record and just falling 1 game short from a 2nd straight Stanley Cup Final. With all that said, this seasons Rangers started off strong only because of the goaltending or else they would be NHL bottom dwellers at this point in the season. Too many times in games this season, after the Rangers let up a goal, they let up another and are quickly out of those games. The question is, why has this years Rangers lost the message the coach is giving that has made them a top tier team to this team that seams lost and casually playing through games on most nights. Is it the players lost due to the cap or is it the message isn't respected by this group knowing it can't get them to the next level?
Everyone following this Rangers club can see that the defense is brutal this year. The man to man coverage they are playing in the defensive zone is just terrible. On most nights, the Rangers are on the wrong side of the player they are covering or their stick is is the wrong spot leaving rinkwide passes that no goalie can stop. Is it that the forwards aren't hitting the damn net with shots leading to odd man rushes every night? Is it just that the coach doesn't trust the players on his roster? Who outside the locker room knows what is going on, but General Managaer Gorton better make some changes. Even with the Rangers playing this putrid type hockey that gives Rangers fans heartburn on a game by game basis, somehow they have a shot at a payoff spot at almost the halfway point.
The easy answer is to make a coaching change, but who would be brought in? Would either Samuelsson or Arniel get the job? Do you look to give Messier a shot now that Sather is no longer G.M. as Messier has been attending a few games as of late? Do you make a blockbuster deal? Do you deal a heart and sould guy to shake up the locker room? Do you move young guys for an all-in to take a last shot? How a bout a Rick Nash return to Columbus for Dubinsky and a prospect like Rychel (who was the player taken with the 1st round pick in the original Nash to New York deal)? How about a Yandle and Hayes to Boston for and Ericksson and Kholochkov plus pick so when Pavel Buchnevich comes over, he has a Russian to help him adjust? Do the Rangers make deals like these or just throw in the towel this season since so many teams feel they have a shot and may be willing to give up a bigger reward for a player that can make them into a playoff team?
Let's face it, these Rangers as they are aren't winning a Cup this season, so how about making this off year into a year to rebuild for a solid run next season. Next season Dan Boyle and his $4.5 mil caphit goes away. Domonic Moore will be replaced by a cheaper option than the $1.5 being paid for a 4th line center. Tanner Glass doesn't belong on the ice on this Rangers squad and even sending him to the AHL clears up $925,000 for a fourth liner that will easily be signed for and save a few hundred thousand. The Victor Stalberg experiment seems to have failed, as this coach isn't playing him and he looks more like the player that was a cause for him already being bought out, and his $1.1 mil comes off next season. It would seem that the Rangers will be like other successful teams like Chicago and L.A (except those teams WON the CUP) where every other year is an off year. Make this an off year and come back strong next season. The Rangers core is young and by ridding themselves of 1 or 2 big ticket items that can help another team get over the top, the Rangers can get a few pieces that will make them stronger for next season.
Maybe the Rangers should look at moving players like Yandle, Nash, or Staal and throw in younger players like Hayes, Etem, or Fast while maybe even eating some of the bigger players salary for a few solid young prospects. Next season the Rangers will be adding top 6 forward Pavel Buchnevich, Top 6 dman Brady Skjei, and most likely a bottom 6 forward in either Tambellini or Notre Dame captain Fogarty. Ther should be bigger roles next season for Miller, Lindberg, and McIlrath. Hopefully they can bring over Carl Klingberg back over from the KHL but it was reported earlier this year that he signed a 2 year contract this summer but not sure if it has an NHL out clause. He is a large bottom 6 player for sure if given a chance for an NHL spot.
There is no doubt that Gorton has been working the phones and I wouldn't be surprised if some of these Rangers wind up on the waiver wire hoping another NHL will take their contract off the Rangers cap. Stalberg, Glass, and Moore should be put on waivers and players like Gibbons, Tambellini, and Adam should be given a chance. They have had enough time to learn the Rangers system and would at least give the Rangers alittle life which is mising in most games. Something has to happen soon so that this isn't a lost season where they team doesn't make the playoffs and the younger players don't get a chance to get experience.
MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN GORTON!! LET'S GO RANGERS!!