The answer to the above question is...none.
The Rangers' woes have always begun, and ended, with free agency. From Brian Skrudland to Stephane Quintal to Wade Redden to Scott Gomez...how many free agents have the Rangers signed that have truly worked out? I honestly have trouble finding even a single one.
Maybe Michal Roszival...from two years back. Maybe.
In fact, most teams struggle with free agency. Let's look around. Danny Briere in Philly? So far, a bust and constantly injured. Brian Campbell in Chicago? He hasn't produced. How about Cristobal Huet or Jose Theodore in their new digs? Horrible.
Truly, free agency usually produces many, many duds, and the rare gem. Please...no Marian Hossa talk. Anyone on Detroit truly finds a way to produce...
My argument is as follows: if free agents usually do lots of nothing for us, and it's been a proven waste of money and space, then why continue the practice?
I honestly believe that we have a solid grouping of talent in our minor leagues, and there are plenty of trades that are available to us.
Players that are going to be eligible for the team next year on our blue line are:
Michael Del Zotto, Mike Sauer, Bobby Sanguinetti, and Corey Perry.
Del Zotto and Sanguinetti look to be solid up and coming offensive defensemen. Can we PLEASE allow them the opportunity to develop? Sauer looked bland in his few games, and Corey Perry, to me, looked like a solid fifth or sixth d-man. That's half a defense corps right there.
Players that are going to be eligible (realistically) to contribute up front next year:
Dane Byers, Brodie Dupont, Artem Anisimov, and Evgeny Gratchev.
First and foremost, Dupont and especially Byers are Tortorella type players, no questions asked. They both are hard checking, hard working forwards that could help to fill in third and fourth line gaps. I could honestly see Byers becoming a Garden favorite.
In juniors, Gratchev has simply dominated. This Russian powerforward could be a solid top line guy for years to come.
Anisimov has been one of the few bright spots at forward for the Wolf Pack. He's big, just like Gratchev, has a good scoring touch, and can play at both ends. Let's give him a serious look.
You add in most of those players, and it allows for others to be let go or traded.
Speaking of trades, that I'm all for. Especially when names like Wade Redden are thrown around. Get rid of this guy!
A team like Tampa is dying for some leadership on that blueline. Ever since the trading of Dan Boyle, they have done tons of nothing. Martin St. Louis is rumored to be a target of Glen Sather's. Why not try and do Redden, Zherdev and a pick for St. Louis and Jeff Halpern? Redden has played with Andrej Meszaros in the past if you recall. If anyone will take on an overpaid has-been free agent...Tampa's that team.
Halpern's gotta go in there just for the cash, but we get a Torts favorite (in St. Louis), and an extremely hard working player. Acquiring another center allows for...Gomez to Vancouver for Kevin Bieksa? I'd even do Gomez to Edmonton for Penner and Schremp.
I'd love for Dubinsky to get Gomez's minutes; and then you have Dubinsky, Anisimov, and Drury as your top three centers (Drury is a second or third line center, nothing more). Playing 20+ minutes a night will truly help to get Dubinsky to produce like we all know he can.
We could talk trades all day...but truly what matters is that the Rangers continue to promote from within. Cally and Dubie have easily fit into Torts' system. Hard working players tend to always find a way. These lazy players Sather has signed as of late have been the issue, not the kids from Hartford.
But...if you were getting $7 million+ per season guaranteed, wouldn't you play kinda lazy too?