The Rangers have many upcoming free agents including Keith Yandle, Chris Kreider, and J.T. Miller.
Rick Nash has been disappointing Rangers fans since 2013 when he was traded to New York. Prior to coming to New York, Nash, the face of the Columbus franchise, was supposedly a perennial 40 goal scorer and a 5 time all- star. Nash hasn’t lived up to those expectations since arriving in New York. The former 1st overall pick has made 1 all-star game appearance and has cracked the 40 goal mark just once in his 4 seasons with the Rangers, falling well short the other 3 times. In 233 regular season games with the Rangers Nash has racked up 183 points. Not bad, but when you compare it to other stars like Sidney Crosby, Nash’s numbers don’t look like anything special. Crosby has put up 320 points in his last 264 regular season games. Furthermore, the Rangers gave up lots of their youth in the trade, losing Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, and their 2013 first round pick for Nash. Anisimov is having a nice 19 goal and 19 assist season in Chicago, while Dubinsky has become the first or second line center in Columbus. Nash’s regular season numbers are mediocre, but the playoffs is when Nash has really hurt the Rangers. Nash came to New York with the hopes of winning the Stanley Cup. The Rangers have given him that opportunity going the finals and eastern conference finals the last 2 seasons, however Nash hasn’t been able to come through. Nash has just 29 points in 46 playoff games with the Rangers, and in 2014 when the Rangers went to the finals Nash totaled 3 goals in 25 games. Yes, he’s impacted games in other ways, but he hasn’t shown the superstar ability to put the team on his back and lead them to victory. Nash hasn’t lived up to expectations in New York and with his hefty price I think it’s time for the Rangers to look into trading him. The idea of trading Nash has always surfaced, but never actually been explored. The Rangers have shown the ability to win without Nash and adding a few supporting players instead of him wouldn’t be a bad idea. With the media exposure, publicity, and the fans, New York just isn’t the right place for some athletes and Rick Nash is one of them.
The New York Rangers made a pretty big splash at the trade deadline when they acquired Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. Staal is a very nice addition to the roster and he could be the piece that the Rangers have been missing the past two years. Staal is a strong, versatile, top six forward, with a Stanley Cup under his belt. The Rangers made arguably the biggest move at this year’s trade deadline ( trading for Staal), but the next biggest move was made by the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago added Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Ladd to improve their already offensive juggernaut. Ladd won a championship with Chicago back in 2010 and is looking for another one. Furthermore, Chicago added Dale Weise and Thomas Fleischman, two underated third line scorers. Not only will the Rangers have to deal with Chicago, they’ll also have to defeat the ranger- killing Los Angeles Kings, and inner conference rivals the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning. There are tons of contenders for the Stanley Cup this season and the Rangers as always are towards the top of the list, but is this Rangers team the team that will finally prevail over the western conference powerhouses? The Rangers are pretty much all in. They haven’t had a first round draft pick in three years and don’t have a first or second rounder in this upcoming draft. Additionally, The Rangers have no real prospects outside of Brady Skjei and Pavel Buchnevich. Also the Rangers have to deal with the possibility of losing Eric Staal, Keith Yandle, Chris Kreider, JT Miller, and Kevin Hayes to free agency this summer. With the oldest roster in the NHL the time to win for the Rangers is now. Luckily for them, after lackluster play throughout December and early January, the play has picked up as of late as the Rangers sit at 7-3 in their last 10 games holding the second spot in the metropolitan division. The Rangers have playing at a high level without star forward Rick Nash. Now with the addition Eric Staal and upcoming return of Nash the already high powered offense should only improve. This could be the Rangers last real shot of winning it all. But the question remains, after two tries is this finally the team to bring the cup to New York? Only time will tell.
The New York Rangers have made deep playoff runs the last two seasons. After losing to the Los Angeles Kings in five games during the 2014 stanley cup finals, they made another deep playoff run losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in game seven of last year’s Eastern conference finals. The Rangers window to bring the stanley cup back to New York is closing. The Rangers are the oldest team in the NHL with an average age of 28.7 years old. The Rangers have essembled a strong roster with a solid core made up of mostly veterans and few young players. But that has led to the decline of some of those players. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi aren’t the top pairing defenseman they used to be, Henrik Lundqvist seems to be slowing down and can’t endure the same workload he used to, and as far as Danny Boyle, he might as well skate off into the sunset. Also the Rangers have many upcoming free agents such as Keith Yandle, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Domonic Moore, and Dylan Mcilrath. It’s unlikely that the Rangers will be able to retain all of them in free agency, so it wouldnt be surprising to see any one of them get traded. However, all of them are important members of this year’s team, so Yandle is the only one with a real possibility of being traded, because of the likelihood of the Rangers not being able to afford him during free agency. Nonetheless with the Rangers playing there best hockey of season since there blazing start, at 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, and with lingering injuries to captain Ryan Mcdonagh and star forward Rick Nash the Rangers will need all of their assets. The last two years the Rangers have been missing that one player to put them over the top. With an aging defense and goaltender, some underperforming forwards like Hayes and Nash, injury issues, and the loss of speedster Carl Hagelin, the Rangers have some changes to make if they want to go all the way. This is maybe the Rangers last chance to win the cup, so expect rookie GM Jeff Gorton to make some noise on February 29th at the NHL trade deadline. The Rangers needs for this year’s deadline is a top six forward, some defensive depth, and maybe a new backup goalie. One player who the Rangers have shown great interest in and would be a great acquisition is Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. Eric Staal is a veteran top line versatile player who is a great leader, has won himself a stanley cup, and has his sights set on winning another. He can play in all situations and can play center and wing. Yes, Staal is not the consistent 70 point scorer he used to be, but he put up 54 points in 77 games last year and is on pace to reach 50 points again this year. What really sticks out is when Carolia won the cup in 2006, Staal notched 28 points in 25 games during that playoff run. The only problems with Staal is he has a big contract of 9.25 million dollars, the Rangers will have to give up a good amount for him, and the Hurricanes may not be willing to part ways with their captain as they make their push for the Eastern conference’s last playoff spot, even with his expiring contract and lack of desire to resign with Carolina during the offseason. If the Rangers were able to pull of a deal to acquire Staal, they would become a real stanley cup threat. Staal would provide the Rangers with experience, leadership, versatility, and much needed scoring . To go along with all of that, Staal would add size and strength to. When the Rangers go up against the big and physical teams like the Kings, Staal would be a helpful addition. Furthermore, Staal would be a great help to the Rangers lines. Adding Staal would give them the ability to move defensive-minded Jesper Fast down to the third line. This would give the Rangers two dynamic lines consisting of Brassard, Zuccarello, Nash, Kreider, Stepan, and Staal. That would leave the Rangers with a very young and talented third line too with Hayes, Miller, and Stalberg. Also when the playoffs begin Staal would help take the scoring pressure off of other players like Rick Nash who is known for his playoff struggles. Moreover, Eric Staal would unite with his younger brother Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. Marc has had a rough year as he hasn’t played at the same level he’s played at in prior seasons. Maybe if the two brothers united they would be able to light a spark under one another which would lead to an improvement in their play. Eric Staal would be an ideal addition to the Rangers, but if the Rangers couldn’t add Staal there are some other candidates. Other forwards like Jiri Hudler, Andrew Ladd, and Radim Vrbata are other possible additions. Expect Jeff Gorton to be busy on deadline day as it’s now or never in terms of bringing the beloved stanley cup back to New York for the first time in 22 years.