The New York Rangers' Solution

Kevin PapaCorrespondent IMay 4, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 26:  Nikolai Zherdev #13 of the New York Rangers hugs Scott Gomez #19 after a goal in their game against the Washington Capitals during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 26, 2009 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After taking a 3-to-1 advantage against the Capitals in the first round, the New York Rangers collapsed and lost the series four games to three. Now the offseason is upon us Rangers fans.

Hopefully it will turn out better than the last.

Irrational thoughts combined with bad decisions have dug the Rangers into quite a hole.Starting with the restricting cap situation, which destroys the acquisition of various free agents, the Blueshirts need to decide their course of action wisely.

But with Glen Sather at the helm, we can only pray he doesn't sign another worthless talent for 10 years and $30 million. Sather has 14.5 million to sign 10 players, and that would just give us the same team as last season. (That does not include Markus Naslund's impending retirement.)

The only option I see that could help ease the Rangers back into signing position would be to buy out either Wade Redden's or Michal Rozsival's contract.

Since neither shows a desire to play competitive hockey in New York, I would literally jump at a sixth-round pick for either just to get some relief from their gigantic contracts.

Truth be told, the Rangers most likely will not be able to sign some of the restricted free agents and certainly not every player they would like to. I say let Derek Morris—maybe even Paul Mara—find a new team.

The most crucial part is finding players to dismiss to escape this cap dilemma. 

This brings me to two players who both require different outlooks.

Nikolai Zherdev, especially after the disappointing playoff oust, has been looked upon as an unnecessary option to this 2009 team. But he is only 24, and with the right training (hello, John Tortorella) he can find a niche and could very well be a highlight player for years to come.

Even though he only scored 58 points, tying Gomez for team-lead, he was also playing with a disappointing Brandon Dubinsky, a worthless Aaron Voros (who should be banned from hockey forever), and a differing Ryan Callahan. 

On the other hand, you have Scott Gomez, the human money vacuum. Fifty-eight points is about half of what any fan expects from a player making anywhere near what Gomez is stealing from the organization.

Really, $7 million is absolutely ludicrous, and the only rare asset he possesses is to skate fast.

So let's bring in Michelle Kwan to skate around the ice for $7 million since she will just turn the puck over as soon as she enters the offensive zone, since that is what Gomez does anyway.

But seriously, unless he starts to play the way we expected when we payed him so much, then we cannot salvage this mess.

The other important asset that needs to be addressed is the signing/ignoring of Nik Antropov. I say keep him since he's a needed finesse player who can be used effectively to score and repair our offensive woes.

He's a big guy, and although he doesn't have blazing speed, he could become a catalyst in the future renaissance of a once-great offense.

In terms of defense, it stays simple. Find a way to dump at least one big contract, and Matt Gilroy or Corey Potter (both 25 years old) need to be fixtures.

Too long have we had either an incompetent or old defense; it is now time to switch and bring up some young, talented players from the AHL.

Do you have any favorites to call up for next year? Or do you feel we need to dump a certain contract/sign a certain player?

My plan is nowhere near perfect or even complete, so let me know any suggestions to get an idea of what other fans anticipate in next year's starting lineup.