Pressure Is on Rangers GM Glen Sather in Wake of Islanders' Thomas Vanek Deal

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IOctober 28, 2013

Jun 27, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather arrives at the Westin Hotel for the NHL Board of Governors meeting. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Vanek is now a member of the New York Islanders after the Buffalo Sabres sent him to Long Island in a deal that involved Matt Moulson and two draft picks.

The move brought some much needed star power to the Islanders, and it also added some heat to the seat of the New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather.

The Islanders have had a better start than the Rangers, but general manager Garth Snow felt it was necessary to shake things up according to an article by Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports.

Moulson was a very popular teammate, but Snow certainly doesn't believe the core group was making enough of a positive statement. 

I didn't like the way we'd been playing, he told Newsday's Arthur Staple on Sunday night. We're better than our record indicates and we need to take the next step.

He is letting them know that if it doesn't get better, more is coming.

Sather should do something similar, because the Rangers need to start playing better hockey. The franchise has a record of 3-6-0 through nine games, and they are playing with a skeleton roster. They should make changes as soon as possible.

Given the ominous status of Rick Nash's health and the lack of scoring thus far, there is a lot of pressure on Sather to improve the Rangers' roster. 

As I opined a week ago, the Rangers simply don't have enough offensive talent to thrive under Alain Vigneault. 

Part of the problem for the Rangers' failure thus far involves personnel. The players get no reprieve for lack of execution, but Vigneault gets a pass for doing the best he can with the current roster.

The current identity of this team, based on statistics, is still Tortorellian in nature. Players are still blocking shots, they are hitting and they aren't generating offense. Could it be that this team isn't good enough to play for Vigneault?

That is the fault of Sather, and he has to do whatever he can to improve the roster. So far players like Taylor Pyatt, Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello have not pulled their weight, and they should be replaced if they continue to play poorly.

The financial state of the Rangers is tight according to Cap Geek, but that shouldn't prevent the Blueshirts from making a move or two to improve the roster.

The Rangers may have a number of youngsters such as Danny Kristo and Marek Hrivik who could step in and make a difference, but the Blueshirts don't have the time to mess around. If you take a look at their cap situation, a number of players are due for a new contract next season.

As I mentioned above, the team could use a serious makeover in Vigneault's image, and that makeover should be expedited given the Islanders recent transaction. On paper, the Islanders are a better offensive team with Vanek in the lineup, and the Rangers are going to need more scoring if they want to be successful.

Through nine games the Blueshirts have only score 15 goals, and that is borderline unacceptable. While you can point to the injuries of Nash, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin for a drop in scoring, the Rangers will still need more scoring once they return.

Last season, the Rangers scored 2.62 goals per game, and that was 15th best in the NHL. In the playoffs that number dropped to 2.17, or 10th out of the 16-playoff teams. The reason there is pressure for Sather to improve the roster is because there is no guarantee that Rick Nash will be as effective when he returns from injury.

Nash is a solid player that can help the Rangers do great things, but he has suffered two concussions in less than a year. Concussions impact players differently, but his absence from the lineup has certainly taken a toll.

The Rangers could have used a player like Vanek while Nash was sidelined, but now Sather will have to get creative to improve the roster. There is a lot of season left, but the Rangers can't sit still while teams around them are making improvements.

Adding another top goal scorer should be a priority for the Blueshirts, and it may cost them a prospect or two. There is still a lot of time left in the season, and nothing is imminent, but Sather at the very least should be making some phone calls to see what teams are interested in making deals.

There is a ton of pressure on the Rangers this season, and "heads will roll" if they are unsuccessful this season in their pursuit of a Stanley Cup.