Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images
It is probably the same story every year. The New York Rangers, like every other New York team, can afford to extend the largest contracts to players in the pursuit of a championship.
Before the salary cap days, the Rangers would sign the league's biggest names to enormous contracts, but since their last Cup in 1994, they have not come anywhere near winning again.
After the salary cap was established, New York still did everything in their ability to attract the most prominent candidates in the offseason free agent pools, and have been successful in doing so.
In the past, they have been known to sign players that were seen to be "washed up", "past their prime", or just complete underachievers as soon as they stepped foot in Midtown Manhattan. Names such as Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, Wade Redden, Markus Naslund, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury are just some of the familiar high-salary signings that did not quite pan out for the Rangers.
The truth is, on paper, the Rangers will always have a roster that has championship potential.
Today, the New York Rangers still have a team of players with the potential to devastate. However, there is one difference. As opposed to prior seasons, these players are actually in their prime or at least approaching their prime, and also seem more motivated than ever to win.
Big names include: Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky. At one point or another, these players have all been in talks of having superstar potential, and if all of them can play to their expectations, it is inevitable that the Rangers will be a tough team to beat.
Right now, these guys are only heating up simultaneously, which is still better than anything before, and New York is looking unstoppable. One can only imagine how potent this team could be if all of these players are playing to their potential at the same time.
So far this season, five of the six are starting to get into top form, and when Marc Staal gets back, watch out.