Who are the New York Rangers? Seriously, who are they—because through 36 games, no one really knows the answer to that question. That needs to change between now and the 2014 Olympic break.
The Rangers are in their worst funk of the year, and they only have 46 games left to find themselves. The Broadway Blueshirts had a pathetic showing against a horrid New York Islanders squad on Friday night; with the loss the Rangers dropped to 3-5-2 in their last 10 games.
When looking at the current roster it is easy to find holes, and here is what needs to happen between now and the February break to help fix them.
Pyatt has been a waste for New York.
The Change: Demote him to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.
The Reason: The 6'4", 235-pound Pyatt is an extremely frustrating player. In 22 games, the middling forward has a lone point and is a minus-nine.
The Intended Result: Demoting Pyatt will free up a roster spot for a 13th forward who has the potential to make a difference. By adding someone with potential, it will put pressure on the other 12 forwards, because the slightest mistake could cost them ice time if another forward is deserving and making a case to get back in the lineup.
Girardi was a better fit for John Tortorella.
The Change: Trade
The Reason: Although he has a history of success with the team, this has been Girardi's worst season to date. His skating ability doesn't mesh with the style of hockey Alain Vigneault wants to implement, and as an upcoming free agent, he'll be in line for a huge pay raise.
As pointed out by Kevin Allen of USA Today:
Gritty Callahan and Girardi were both symbolic of Tortorella’s style of play. Girardi seems to be having less impact under coach Alain Vigneault. Trading captain Callahan further symbolizes the move in another direction under Vigneault.
Although Allen also made a case for keeping Girardi, it makes more sense to trade him before his value drops any more. There is reason to believe the Rangers could not re-sign him, so it makes sense to get something of value instead of losing him via free agency.
The Intended Result: Not only would a trade of Girardi bring back an asset to the organization, but it would send a huge message through the dressing room. The current squad has become too comfortable, and the team needs a jolt to make a turnaround.
Kristo could really help the Rangers.
The Change: Promote him from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.
The Reason: The Rangers' roster lacks offensive skill and creativity. The former collegiate star has 20 points in 25 games with the Wolf Pack, and he would be a welcome addition to New York's roster.
The Intended Result: Promoting Kristo would force Vigneault to construct lines that utilize the talent on the roster, and it would stop him from giving chances to players such as Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Pyatt.
Del Zotto isn't cutting it for the Rangers.
The Change: Trade him for a defenseman and/or goal scorer.
The Reason: Vigneault has given Del Zotto multiple chances, but he has been unable to make the most of his opportunities. If the Rangers continue to play Del Zotto, they risk destroying the little value he has left.
He has potential, but after 28 games, enough is enough when you consider that there has been no improvement in his play. Del Zotto has just seven points and is a minus-nine so far this season.
The Intended Result: Trading Del Zotto would bring in assets that fit Vigneault's style of hockey, and the Rangers would start scoring more goals on a consistent basis. According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Rangers love Cody Franson, and they would consider swapping Del Zotto for him in a heartbeat.