Rangers Find Missing Pieces to the Puzzle

Joshua GarveyContributor IJanuary 21, 2009

This is the year that the New York Rangers have finally found the pieces to contend for the Stanley Cup.

This is the year of role players and rising stars playing well and complementing each other.

This is the year that the Rangers will finally finish a season and make it to the NHL Finals.

New York allowed one of the best right wingers in recent history to flee the NHL and head to Europe for more money. Who cares?

The Rangers look like a team more than they ever did when Jagr was wearing the "C." What's the reason? Egos are being put aside. Chemistry is taking over.

New York arguably took the two best available free agents off the market two years ago with Chris Drury and Scott Gomez.

Now, it seems to be paying off. Both players put their egos aside and realized they weren't going to be the stars of this team if they wanted to win.

Both are seeing a drop in points but an increase in wins. The off-season acquisitions of Markus Naslund, Wade Redden, Aaron Voros, and Nikolai Zherdev are making Rangers management look like geniuses. Zherdev is leading the team in points with Naslund in fourth, behind Gomez and Drury.

The Rangers are not scoring in bunches, but are winning the close ones. The team has 12 players with double-digit point totals, scoring with a seemingly come-by-committee approach.

This has proven vital because when the scorers are having off-nights, someone else seems to slide in and fill the void.

Youngsters Ryan Callahan, Nigel Dawes, and Brandon Dubinsky are stars on the rise that will only prosper with the knowledge and experience they will receive from Drury, Gomez, and Naslund.

Knowing all this, and the fact that Henrik Lundqvist shows no sign of slowing down has to put fear in not only Eastern Conference foes, but in the entire West. As of Jan. 21, the Rangers are 7-4-2 vs. the West, and second in the East behind the Boston Bruins.

The puzzle finally seems to be coming together for the beloved Garden hopefuls.