This past season, 2008 - 2009 has to be considered a disappointment. A first round exit? In no way is this acceptable.
I thought I could go through the six most important Rangers (outside of Henrik Lundqvist). Who's going to help this team next year?
Who will hurt us? Let's take a look at what we have on Broadway; the good, the bad, and Wade Redden.
Torts claimed that this next season... he could see Cally scoring 30 goals. On behalf of all Ranger fans, I'd like to say, good for Cally.
If there is anyone who personifies what we'd all like to see this team become, it's Ryan Callahan. No one works harder, and considering his semi-breakout last season, he's going to be an integral part of our team, no doubt. Callahan, at this point, has a stronghold on the wing of Rangers' top line.
Oh captain... where's the captain? He came to the Rangers after having a career year in Buffalo (37 goals).
At this moment however, I believe most would consider his tenure in New York a failure. So far, he has not surpassed 25 goals in a Ranger uniform.
That's "decent" numbers... but not good enough numbers for a $7 million a year player. In my opinion, Drury would be better served centering a very tough shut down 3rd line.
I'd love a guy like Artem Anisimov promoted and put on his wing. Drury can still produce... for sure... but this is one player who for sure, has to step up his efforts.
Scotty Gomez...what a sad story. When he played in Jersey...all I thought was that he was a great 2nd line center.
I still feel that way. To pay him the money he's getting is absolutely ridiculous.
He has never scored 20 goals in his career. Think about that.
This guy is our number one center, and has never scored 20 goals. A pathetic job by Glen Sather for sure.
In my opinion, Gomez has to be packaged and traded...and it's not because he's not a decent player...it's just because he's not a 1st line center, and can't produce as such. He'll never reach the expectations set for him, and therefore he's set to fail.
Personally, I could see him fitting in well in Colorado (with Sakic probably retiring) playing behind Paul Stastny, or in Vancouver if they lose the Sedins. How about in Tampa as part of a package for Vinny Lecavalier?
There are pros and cons to Marc Staal.
The pros: He is today, our best defenseman. Marc Staal, is without a doubt our best defensive defenseman (which might not be saying too much) as well. Staal has been the anchor on defense which we've needed for so many years, and has improved almost every time he's been on the ice.
The cons: Sadly, and hard to admit...Staal at best is a number 2 or 3 defenseman. Will he ever be that number 1 shut down guy? Unsure.
However, I do feel that his value is as high as it's ever been, or, as high as it ever could be. The Rangers do truly need to improve their team...and if trading Staal is our best option, then it might have to be considered.
The only two scenarios I would really be willing to accept, would be if he was traded to Tampa for their pick in the draft (to probably acquire Hedman), or as a package to Toronto to pick up Luke Schenn. Staal's a solid defenseman...but is he good enough to get us to the next level? I'm not quite sold as of yet.
I'll start by saying I love Brandon Dubinsky as a player. He's the name I have on the back of my jersey.
He might be the player that I feel has the most potential on the entire Ranger team. I say that for a few reasons: first...he is without a doubt, a tough, tough bastard.
He's shown that he'll fight anyone, stand up for teammates, and never back down from a challenge. Second, if you've watched Ranger games whatsoever, you know that he truly can find the back of the net.
However...he really has yet to take that next step to becoming a prolific scorer in the NHL. The last two years, he's scored 14 and 13 goals, respectfully.
That's just not good enough. I feel that this next year needs to be his breakout year.
Scoring 20 goals has to be the next step. I could see Dubinsky as a future number one center in this league (maybe even play a similar role to Mike Richards)...but it's time for this kid to go from "could possibly" to "dominating."
If there is anyone who personifies the disappointments of this team, Wade Redden is it. First, his best years are way behind him.
Second, he's as soft as they come. Neither is acceptable.
The money and tenure given to him would probably get most GM's fired. One of two things have to happen to probably save the Rangers' season; he either has to be traded, or he has to become that number one defenseman the Rangers are paying him to be. Honestly... we all know that neither will occur.
Surprisingly, the Rangers have a decent grouping of players with some solid potential.
Lauri Korpikoski (pictured): This is a former number 1 pick of the Rangers. If there is anyone however that has the tools to succeed under John Tortorella, I feel that Korp is the guy that could do it.
Look at Cally; this kid plays almost the same game, however, I believe has more natural scoring talent. You give this kid 2nd line time, and watch him "all of a sudden" pot 20 goals.
Fredrik Sjostrom; Again, another former number one pick. This, again, is a guy who has an incredible work ethic.
He's shown a willingness to get dirty and play rough hockey. Sadly, he's languished on a line with Colton Orr.
You put him on a line with Chris Drury, and he might get a few more chances. I love his game, and I don't see his ceiling as 4th line winger, under any circumstance.
Dan Girardi: Why is he unsung? I don't think teams come into the Garden worrying too much about Dan Girardi.
If given the ice time, I think they would however. First off...this guy has shown a decent ability to play the point on the powerplay.
I'm tired of watching Michal Roszival... why can't this guy get a real chance? I like his offensive upside, which could match his defensive prowess.