To date in the 2013-14 season, the Rangers have struggled to generate offense. If they don't add a scorer soon, they could have trouble winning games over the rest of the season. When the playoffs come around, they will not have the arsenal to compete with teams such as the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.
During the postseason last year, the Bruins completely dominated the Rangers, and that should have been a sign to general manager Glen Sather that the team needs some scoring help.
Rick Nash is a solid goal scorer, but he has an injury history and can't shoulder the load alone. Of the Rangers' current top goal scorers, three—Brad Richards, Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard— are playmakers that are also leading the team with assists.
Having playmakers score goals is nice, but they can't be counted on to score consistently.
There are other players on the team that have produced, but they are secondary scorers who don't have a history of being a consistent producers. Examples of this would be Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello.
There is a reason why Larry Brooks of the New York Post speculated that the Rangers might be interested in Nail Yakupov, and that is because he puts the puck in the back of the net. Goal scoring is clearly the issue here and the coaching staff recognizes it.
(Monday night’s 5-0 loss to the Lightning) was our 24th game, and in 15 of those games we’ve scored two goals or less, Vigneault said after practice Tuesday afternoon. That’s a pretty good chunk if you want a segment that tells you what you have. There’s a chunk there that tells us we’re not scoring a lot. Maybe we’ve got to play even tighter to the vest than we are and go into games with that mentality of (trying to win) 2-1.
Vigneault's words are troubling because he was brought in to help the Rangers offense thrive. Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports deemed that John Tortorella's shot-blocking system stifled offense and was holding the Rangers back.
However, that hasn't rung true thus far. Here are a few stats that show how bad the team's offense has been thus far in 2013-14:
These numbers are bad, but they should not be a surprise to anyone. The roster for the Rangers barely changed this summer and the top goal scorers this year were all members of the 2012-13 squad.
If the Rangers had problems scoring last year with the same players, logic would suggest that the problem lies with the players and not the man behind the bench.
Therefore, the Rangers should be in a hurry to trade for scoring, because they don't have much time left. They need to make up for their mistake of not adding a goal scorer last year, as it burned them in the playoffs.
They should also add a scorer while prices are somewhat reasonable. While there are 57 games left in the Rangers' season, the February break for the Olympics is slowly approaching, and so is the March 5 trade deadline that follows.
This year, the playoffs start on April 15, so there will be a little over a month left between the trade deadline and the end of the season. Since a number of teams will be unsure about their status, the market will be tumultuous. Some bubble teams may decide to hold on to their players and a diluted market will inflate prices.
In addition, developing chemistry is very important. Adding a scorer now would give the Rangers time to see how their lineup reacts to a transaction.
Right now, the team is having problem scoring and one addition may not solve the problem.
The Rangers are rumored to be dangling Michael Del Zotto in hopes to add a goal scorer and TSN.ca's Pierre LeBrun believes that the Ottawa Senators have shown interest. This would be a step in the right direction and certainly could help the Rangers acquire a player that can score goals.
No matter how you spin it, the current roster does not have enough talent to win the Stanley Cup. The Blueshirts have a great goaltenders and a young blue line with upside, but none of it wll matter if they fail to put the puck in the back of the net.
Unless otherwise noted, statistics are courtesy of NHL.com.
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