5 Reasons Why a Canceled Season Would Be Devastating to the New York Rangers

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5 Reasons Why a Canceled Season Would Be Devastating to the New York Rangers
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

"I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been away from hockey as long as I have been now. It feels so strange. Everything is off. Nothing is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s hard to imagine that it’s almost Christmas but the season hasn’t even started yet." Henrik Lundqvist

The New York Rangers franchise man between the pipes uttered those unbelievable words in a recent New York Post article.

Why do you suppose he feels this way?

Simple.

No progress today after six and a half hours with a federal mediator.

More games cancelled due to this ridiculous 88-day work stoppage.

526 games lost. 

42.8 percent of the regular season. 

Devastating

And if by chance the entire season were to go down the drain, if hockey falls completely off the radar until further notice, the effects on the Broadway Blueshirts and their Stanley Cup aspirations would be devastating as well.

Here are five reasons why:

Reason #1: The King would lose the chance for a royal season

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Henrik Lundqvist, 30, has averaged nearly 67 starts per season in his NHL career, which began during the 2005-2006 season (the last time hockey had to come back from a lockout). That's a ton of work. And he thrives on it. 

252 career wins. 43 career shutouts. And a 2.27 career goals against average.

Plus, he's got a Vezina Trophy in his pocket. 

Take away a year from the best goalie in hockey and it really hits the Rangers harder than an open-ice body check.

 

Reason #2: Brad Richards isn't getting any younger

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

By the end of what would have been the 2012-13 season, The Rangers top center will be 33 years old.

That's a lot of mileage on those wheels, folks. Losing a whole season at this stage of his career doesn't exactly help the Rangers cause for a Cup.

 

Reason #3: The "core" could be out the door   

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Let's say this season is put on ice. Then what? In 2014, here are the key Rangers who could skate away as unrestricted free agents:

Henrik Lundqvist

Ryan Callahan

Marian Gaborik

Dan Girardi

Brian Boyle

Gulp.

Oh, and just for good measure, Chris Kreider becomes a restricted free agent in 2014 as well.

But wait, there's more.

Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin all become RFAs in 2013.

That's next season, folks.

 

Which team will pose the most problems for the Rangers after the lockout?

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Reason #4: Competitors could put the pressure on like a heavy forecheck    

Sure, the Rangers are one of the elite teams in the NHL, finishing first overall in the Eastern Conference during the 2012 campaign with 109 points.

However, teams like the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals could close the gap rather quickly with all the young talent they have when the puck drops again.

And the Pens, Devils and Flyers always make it tough on John Tortorella's team.

 

Reason #5: Staal-ing tactics could come into play sooner than later

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After the 2014-2015 season, Marc Staal, the ultra-dependable defenseman, will become an unrestricted free agent. He will surely want an increase over his $3.975 million annual salary.

And it won't come cheaply.

So rather than have one of the team's alternate captains play out the string on Broadway and lose him for nothing, the Rangers may opt to send him packing. And if they do, you can bet the house that Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford would be willing to listen.

Remember, the Pittsburgh Penguins did this with his brother, Jordan Staal, as they dealt him to the 'Canes with one year left on his contract.

Staal-ing tactics, indeed. 

And overall, all five of these reasons are potentially devastating to the Rangers in the quest to hoist Lord Stanley's hallowed hardware.

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