The way last season ended was incredibly hard to swallow. Winner moves on, loser goes home, being taken down in a shootout against one of your division rivals. Luckily, as the old adage goes, there’s always next year.
Notable Off-season acquisitions
Derek Boogaard, F: Glen Sather gave a $6.5 million/four-year deal to a guy who hasn’t scored a goal in over three years. His reasoning? Boogaard was brought in to be THE enforcer. He played on the same line as Marian Gaborik when they were in Minnesota, so Boogaard has had practice protecting the Rangers primary offense threat. They won’t start the season on the same line, but look for Boogaard to be moved up if other teams go after Gaborik.
Alexander Frolov, F: Frolov is a low-risk, high-reward acquisition, signing a one-year/$3 million deal. He has scored 20 or more goals in 5 of his seven seasons in the NHL, eclipsing the 30-goal mark twice. After a down year in which he only scored 19 times for a solid Kings team, the Rangers are hoping a change of scenery is just what he needs. Coach John Tortorella says he’ll be playing with Gaborik on the first line, so Frolov will probably see a lot of open ice.
Martin Biron, G: Biron’s main purpose for being on this team is allowing Henrik Lundqvist to rest. If the King goes down the Rangers will be sitting in the basement of the Eastern Conference, so being able to put an established veteran between the pipes when he needs a break will be welcoming to Ranger fans. It was a cheap solution to something the Rangers desperately needed.
Last season the Rangers were pretty much right in the middle of the league when it came to scoring. They averaged 2.67 goals per game and while that’s nothing to brag about, it’s not terrible.
The main problem for the Blue Shirts is that they still only have one legitimate goal-scorer. Last season Marian Gaborik scored 42 goals, more than double the amount scored by Vinny Prospal and Brandon Dubinsky who were tied for second on the team with 20 goals apiece. That’s why they brought in Alexander Frolov. If Frolov can find a way to light the lamp 30 times like he did two years ago, it would take a lot of pressure off of Gaborik’s shoulders. The continued progression of Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky will be vital as well.
With a very young core of talented players, the defense could be the Rangers’ bread and butter. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi both signed multi-year contracts in the off-season, so both have one less (rather big) distraction to worry about. Ranger fans are hoping that Michael Del Zotto can build on his solid rookie season and are looking for Matt Gilroy to prove he can play at the highest level.
As for the veterans, with Wade Redden expected to be placed on waivers, Michael Roszival needs to get his act together, or all of the “boos” reserved for Redden will be redirected towards him. Newcomer Steve Eminger should be excited to be on a team that can compete for a playoff spot.
Martin Biron proves he still has plenty of fuel in the tank and allows Lundqvist to rest up when he needs it. Alexander Frolov and Marian Gaborik click and the Rangers have two 30-goal scorers for the first time since 2005-2006. They earn the fifth-seed and make it out of the first round.
Lundqvist gets hurt, Frolov is a bust and the young group of defensemen can’t seem to figure it out. They miss the playoffs, the fans continue to call for Sather’s head and, worst of all, James Dolan continues to back him.
The Blue Shirts squeak in as the seventh-seed and get bounced in the first round.
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