New York Rangers' Biggest Takeaways from the Start of 2014 Free Agency
The New York Rangers were active in 2014 free agency, acquiring new players while losing some old standbys.
Now that the frenzy is over, and most of the top free agents have signed, it's time to take a step back.
What can we take away from the Rangers' performance in free agency? What have we learned?
Read on to find out the biggest takeaways from the start of 2014 free agency.
The Rangers Are Not Nostalgic
You might think that the Rangers would do everything they could to keep their team together after their magical run to the Stanley Cup Final.
If you thought that, you would be wrong.
The Rangers did not re-sign Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle or Benoit Pouliot, all key cogs in their lineup. They bought out de facto captain Brad Richards and traded fourth-liner Derek Dorsett to Vancouver.
The prevailing wisdom? Most likely cap space, or lack thereof. With big contracts doled out to Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist, plus the need to sign RFAs such as Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello, plus the fact that Marc Staal will need to be extended at some point—as will Derek Stepan—you need all the money you can get.
It's a salary-cap world. If things were different, I'm sure the Rangers would have loved to have kept Stralman, Richards and everyone else.
But it's not.
The Rangers needed to shed salary.
That included making tough decisions, but they made them. And they did not seem to be particularly nostalgic about it.
New York Is a Destination
According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, Dan Boyle took less money to sign with the Rangers, because he really wanted to come to New York.
Boyle chose New York.
That's saying something.
There was a time when players stayed away from the bright lights, and the Rangers were forced to overpay for over-the-hill stars.
Not anymore. Boyle, while not in his prime, is still very effective and will help the power play tremendously.
He's a star, and he chose less money to come to New York.
I'm sure that the run to the Stanley Cup Final helped his decision, seeing as Boyle probably wants to win one more Cup.
But there were other places he could've done that. The fact that he chose New York means that Boyle thinks it will happen here.
There Are Still Holes
The Rangers didn't fix everything via free agency.
They still need to replace Pouliot. They also need to replace Richards as the No. 2 center.
The team will look from within. Pouliot could be replaced by J.T. Miller, while Oscar Lindberg could slide in as the second pivot.
Or they could turn to free agents. There are still some talented players out there. Maybe Dany Heatley or Dustin Penner could be an option. Perhaps they take a chance on Mike Ribeiro or Derek Roy.
Regardless, there are holes, and the Rangers will have issues unless they fill them.
Free agency helped in some ways—most notably the signing of Boyle—but this is not a complete team.
There is work to be done.