It was only last May that the New York Rangers were just two wins away from a Stanley Cup Final berth. Glen Sather built a team that head coach John Tortorella could work with, and in 2011-12, the two helped the team reach its peak.
Although the Rangers completely bought into Tortorella’s defensive system, the team lacked the offensive production to see them through to the finals. Sather saw the summer of 2012 as an opportunity to add to the team’s anemic offense and trade valuable depth for superstar Rick Nash. At the same time, the then 12-year Rangers exec found himself in several contract disputes with even more depth forwards, players like Ruslan Fedotenko, John Mitchell and Brandon Prust.
All three were eventually allowed to walk and join other clubs, so when the Rangers opened up training camp in January of 2013, Tortorella was surrounded by a host of new faces. The ensuing season will forever be considered a disappointment, despite the team’s ability to reach the second round of the playoffs. There was a clear lack of depth down the middle, a severe shortage of goals and lack of team fluidity.
In the end, Marian Gaborik and Tortorella became causalities, Brad Richards found himself the press box and Henrik Lundqvist left the organization doubting whether or not he plans to be in New York for the long haul.
The point is, the Rangers were on cloud nine just one year ago, but now things aren’t as peachy. Numerous problems have arisen over the past 12 months, so today we’ll sort through them and take a look at the most serious short-term and long-term problems.