Biggest Ups and Downs of New York Rangers' 2013 Offseason

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIAugust 20, 2013

Biggest Ups and Downs of New York Rangers' 2013 Offseason

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    The New York Rangers had a busy 2013 offseason.

    They fired John Tortorella and hired Alain Vigneault as their new bench boss. They signed some core restricted free agents and added a few depth players to round out the roster. 

    What were the biggest ups and downs of the offseason?

    Read on to find out. 

Ups: Alain Vigneault

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    In theory, the Rangers offense should benefit from the addition of Alain Vigneault as coach.

    The Rangers need an offensive boost. John Tortorella's defense-first approach only took them so far. The Rangers need a more potent power play, and they need to lessen the load on Henrik Lundqvist.

    Vigneault's teams in Vancouver usually had a good power play. In 2011-12, the Canucks converted on the man advantage 19.8 percent of the time. The Rangers, by comparison, had a success rate of just 15.5 percent that year. That's a big difference.

    Of course, the Canucks also had the Sedin twins. But with Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan and others, the Rangers' power play should be pretty good.

    If Vigneault can coax even a little bit more offense out of this team, then the Rangers will be better. The failures on the power play were a big reason the Rangers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last season and a big reason John Tortorella was fired.

    Can Vigneault deliver? Hard to say. But if anything, the change will be good. 

Downs: Derek Stepan

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    It would be a shock if Derek Stepan is not with the team once the season starts. But, there is a real possibility that he'll miss some, if not all, of training camp.

    If that happens, Stepan will miss valuable time to learn Vigneault's system and will be behind once the season starts.

    The Rangers have a bit over $2 million in cap space remaining, according to CapGeek. Stepan is worth more than that. Based on his season last year, where he had 44 points in 48 games, Stepan should be making close to $5 million.

    Obviously, the two sides will have to meet somewhere in the middle. And since no team has reached out about an offer sheet as of yet, it seems unlikely that a team will try to poach Stepan.

    Still, Stepan needs to be in camp, and soon. The less time he has with Vigneault, the more he will struggle. Stepan has the ability to carry this team offensively, but he needs to learn the system and get to work.

Ups: Ryan McDonagh

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    When the Rangers re-signed Ryan McDonagh to a six-year, $28.2 million deal that will keep him in New York through 2019, they pulled off perhaps the biggest heist of the summer.

    Paying McDonagh, one of the game's best young defensemen, under $5 million per year is an absolute bargain. McDonagh is a minutes-eater who can play in every situation. He has a developing offensive game and will be asked to shoulder a heavy load for the Americans in Sochi next year.

    McDonagh is only going to get better. In a few years time, he'll be worth upwards of $7 million. Getting him signed long-term was an absolute coup for the Rangers, and probably the best moment of the offseason.