The Rangers have been one of the elite teams over the last 4 years but just haven't had enough to get over the hump and bring home the Stanley Cup to Manhattan. It cost John Tortorella a job and had some players moved out of town, including Captain Callahan trying to get to that last step with no avail. Since coach Alain Vigneault has been behind the bench the Rangers have been to the Stanley Cup Final and last season won the regular season President's Trophy for best reglar season team but fell short in the conference finals, those are two very good seasons but just not enough to win it all. This season has seen many injuries and there were more heart and soul players lost this past summer and the Rangers seem like most of the other run of the mil teams. Yes they still have one of the best goalies in the league, they have a group of fast young forwards, and the core of the defense. Problem is, the forwards aren't working with the defense in all 3 zones and after a great start our all-world goalie looks human. Changes need to happen for the Rangers to get to where they have been the last few years.
Coach Alain Vigneault may have a gameplan none of us are privy too or can't figure out but sometimes it seems that he is just trying things out and not trying to win some games. The Rangers finally get a good game with the top 2 lines of Miller-Brassard-Zuccarello and Nash-Stepan-Kreider and then the next night the lines are moved to something like Nash-Brassard-Fast and Hayes-Stepan-Zuccarello. The team comes out looking lost and not working well and the Rangers not only lose the confidence and momentum, but also the 2 points in the standings. Is there a reason for it? Only the coach and G.M. know for sure. Are they showcasing a few players that are being looked at. It would seem that there are clearly certain players like Keith Yandle, Kevin Hayes, Jesper Fast, and Oscar Lindberg that this coach shows no faith in. These players have shown spurts of god play but then either get sent to a bottom line, not used on the PK/PP, or sat out follwing good games and some even after games they score in. Yes, I get some are young and are in the learning curve, but there is teaching and there is breaking a players spirit.
It would seem that the Rangers just need to get through this season as the players waiting in the wings just need to finish their overseas season, college career, or Jr. season. Right now, Pavel Buchnevich is playing in the KHL on a team with fellow Ranger prospect goalie Igor Shesterkin and ex-NHL star Kovulchuk. He is on a line with Steven Moses who led the KHL in scoring and was a Ranger invite a few years back to camp but wasn't been able to stick this year with the Nashville Predators. Brady Skjei who is playing on the 1st defensive pairing in Hartford is just waiting for a dman to be moved to get his regular chance in the NHL, he already has played 2 games this season. Ryan Gropp, who was the key piece in the Carl Hagelin deal(besides npot being able to fit Hagelin under the cap) is averaging point a game and looking ready for the jump to the pro's as the Rangers have already signed him to a contract. Defenseman Ryan Graves is doing so well in his 1st pro season in Hartford that he is the Wolpack's All-Star representative. In College, the Rangers have two players that will turn pro at the end of their seasons in Steven Fogarty playing at Notre Dame and would slide in as a nice replacement for Dominic Moore. Boo Nieves is playing for Michigan and has speed and size that rivals Chris Kreider. Adam Huska is a few years away but played very well at the World Juniors this year.
SO it would seem with the future looking good to replace this offseasons UFA's that most likely will be gone in Yandle, Victor Stalberg, Dominic Moore, Dan Boyle, Antii Raanta, Raphael Diaz, and Cris Summers. The only player that would be worth resigning is Keith Yandle but that would only be if the Rangers move on eof the dmen on his side in front of him in Ryan McDonagh or Marc Staal. Staal would be the most likely if one would be moved but he has a no-trade clause and could block any possible trade.
Jeff Gorton has alot of decisions to make and some need to be done now. This Rangers team is floundering and the coach seems not to be worried about it. He let's some players play through their isues while others make 1 mistake and they are sent to the press box. We are now passed the 1/2 way point of the season and other teams are making the adjustments to their rosters to get ready for a playoff run. What are this years Rangers going to do? What does Jeff Gorton want his version of the Rangers to look like? If he is going to keep this coach long-term, then he needs to get him the type of players he needs to get his gameplan played well enough to be the team they were with Tortorell's players. Tort's type of players like Callahan, Boyle, Hagelin, etc. have been moved out and right now the Rangers have 2 lines of solid players and 2 mish- mosh lines that make stupid plays and turnovers without looking like they care. Either these players can't play the system the coach is preaching, or they have just stopped listening to the preacher. Either way, it's time for a shake-up that is worthwhile and not a half-ass job.
With the next 8 games being against teams the Rangers should do well against, a 6-2 record should be easily attained. If not, it's time to clean out the problems and make this team in Jeff Gorton's view. Sometimes taking a step back to take 2 steps forward is the right thing to do no matter how hard it seems. Watching this years team is fustrating enough, so anything to right this ship will be a warm welcome to this loyal fanbase!!!
LET'S GO RANGERS!!!