Over the past few weeks I've been reading several articles written by my fellow Ranger fans. You all have some creative ideas about what the team should do this off-season so I decided to create this account and join in on the fun. There has been a lot of speculation about the teams future, and I know Rangerfans are looking for an immediate solution. Well that's not going to happen. This hole that Sather has dug ourteam into will take time and more than likely a new general manager to fix. Here's what I would do if I were incharge of the Blueshirts.
Move #1- Fire Glen Sather. Everyone already knows this so I don't need to explain why, (Lindros, Bure, Holik, Kasparaitis, Gomez, Rozival, REDDEN), but Mr. Dolan hasn't seemed to get the memo, so I figured I'd throw it in as my number one off-season move.
Move #2- Acquire a real number one center. To win in the NHL you need at least one great center. The center has the most responsibility of any player on the ice and all great teams have one or two fantastic pivot men. Examples? Beliveau/H. Richard, Gretzky/Messier, Yzerman/Fedorov. In the post lock-out version of the league this might be true more then ever. Just look at the dominant teams over the past few years. Pittsburghs got Crosby/Malkin, Detriots got Datsyuk/Zetterberg, Philadelphia's got Richards/Carter, Ducks got Getlaf.
As much as Sather hoped Gomez and Drury would provide that one-two punch for the Rangers they have not. Gomez has not scored over 20 goals in his career and Drury is more valued for his defensive game than his offense. One of these two has to be traded. I vote Gomez. Gomez is probably the more tradeable of the two and Drury's defensive leadership is a big reason why the Rangers are such a stellar defensive team. Trade Gomez to Vancouver or Colorado for a pick and just be thankful that we cleared some salary.
This raises the next question, how do we acquired one of the NHL's best centerman? Here's the answer ... Vincent Lecavalier. Vinny's cap hit is only slightly higher than Gomers, but his career numbers are far more impressive. I don't think there's any doubt that the Lightning do not win the Cup in 04 without Lecavalier.
How do we get Vinny? Obviously Tampa is rebuilding and looking for some young talent to play with Stamkos. Tampa is also looking to upgrade their defense. Package Staal and Zherdev with Rozsival for Lecavalier. I'd hate to see Staal go, but he's expendable. Michael Del Zotto is the real deal and could be starring for the Rangers this season having just signed his first NHL contract. Del Zotto has much more of an offensive upside than Staal and Staal and his agent Bobby Orr will surely be demanding a big contract next season.
As far as Zherdev goes good riddins. Although he is extremely talented do we really want this lazy, unaggressive, inconsistant player on our team. To win a Cup all 20 players in the line-up must compete and Zherdev looked lost in the series vs. Washington. This trade will benefit both teams and the Rangers will finally have a ligit superstar upfront.
Move #3- Resign Dubinsky, Callahan, Korpikoski, Sjostrom, and Betts. These players all earned a spot on next years team. Figure it cost 10 million to sign these five players, an average of two million each (some maybe more some less). This will leave us with the following players signed:
Forwards: Lecavalier (7.72) Drury (7.05) Avery (2) Voros (1) Dubinsky, Callahan, Korpikoski, Sjostrom, Betts (10)
Defenseman: Redden (6.5 ... face it he's not going anywhere), Girardi (1.55)
Goalies: Lundqvist (6.875), Valiquette (.725)
Total Cap Hit: 43.42
Move #4- Call-up Del Zotto, Anisimov/Grachev, Byers, and Sauer/Potter. Del Zotto can be a top 4 D-man and Sauer or Potter can be a top 6 D-man. Anisimov and Grachev are both extremely skilled Russian prospects. Expect to see one or both of them play a vital role on the Rangers next season. Byers is a grinder that can also score. He is an upgrade offensively from Colton Orr and has the potential to be a Garden favorite. All these players are cheap and to keep four or five of them with the big team shouldn't be more than a 5-million dollar cap hit.
This brings the cap hit up to about 48 million leaving about 8 million to play with in free agency.
Move #5- Filling the holes with Free Agents. Eight million should be enough for the Rangers to land one coveted free agent. I'd go in the direction of Mike Komisarek. He is in his prime and can play the same type of physical game that Marc Staal plays. This gives us Komisarek, Redden, Girardi, Del Zotto, and Sauer/Potter on D. Add one more veteran such as Rob Scuderi and you have a defense core. Up front to add scoring, I believe Mike Knuble is a good fit for a second line winger. He is 35, but he can still play. He finished fifth amongst Eastern Conference right wingers in goals behind Kessel, St. Louis, Langenbrunner, and Antropov. However he is a lot cheaper than those guys and can probably be had for $2 million.
So that's my vision for the New York Rangers. If all these moves were to happen the line-up would be something like this ...
Avery Lecavalier Callahan
Anisimov/Grachev Dubinsky Knuble
Korpikoski Drury Sjostrom
Byers Betts Voros
Del Zotto Girardi
Obviously, this isn't going to happen but this team fits under than cap, improves scoring, and keeps a lot of young talent. What do you all think of this line-up.