Wait till next year.
The New York Rangers’ season ended Sunday afternoon when they were eliminated from playoff competition by Marian Hossa and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Now comes the offseason. Glen Sather will have a chance to make changes to a team that felt it was a Stanley Cup contender after signing Chris Drury and Scott Gomez last offseason.
The Rangers have eight players who are unrestricted free agents, a list that is headlined by Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Sean Avery, and Martin Straka. And they have a couple of needs that they must address before next season.
One offseason objective for Sather is to get either a puck moving defenseman who can help a horrible power play, or a punishing physical defenseman who can clear players out from in front of the net.
It is obvious that the Rangers cannot get by with the same defense as this year. In order to compete in playoff series with teams like the Penguins, they can't rely on Henrik Lundqvist to steal games for them all the time.
A good fit for the Rangers could be either Brian Campbell or Brooks Orpik, providing the price is right.
Another need for the Rangers is to get a scoring winger able to mesh with center Scott Gomez.
It is clear that the Rangers can't rely on Jagr to do what he did in the playoffs for an 82-game season. It's a task he's said he can't do. And even this is based on the assumption that he will still be a Ranger next year.
Gomez was able to break through defenses this year with ease, but his wingers (especially Brendan Shanahan) were unable to keep up with him, as his speed was wasted.
The Rangers can rely on Jagr for a playoff run, but they need another sniper to help them improve for next year.
And so the offseason begins for the Rangers.
They are a team with Cup aspirations, and they definitely need to upgrade if they want to advance past the second round in 2008-2009.
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