Since their first round exit at the hands of the Washington Capitals, the Rangers have stood by and watched as 1/3 of their defense has left via free agency. Gone are two of their top blue-liners – hard-nosed Paul Mara to Montreal and late season rental Derek Morris to the hated Bruins.
They are strong at the top with a pairing of emerging stars, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, and overpaid disappointments Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival will look to bounce back with a full pre-season under John Tortorella.
But who is going to fill out the rotation?
The decision for Glen Sather will be whether to promote from within the system or to scour the free agent market for a veteran to continue the summer of excessive roster turnover.
Corey Potter and Mike Sauer played well in their handful of games last season, but the focus has to be on the development of potential future difference-makers Matt Gilroy, Bobby Sanguinetti, and Michael Del Zotto. If the Rangers choose to put the onus on the shoulders of these young defensemen, there could be some serious growing pains.
However, the same pressure cooker environment worked well for Staal and Girardi in the recent past, and could save the Rangers some money rather than wasting it on another inevitable free agent disaster like Dennis Seidenberg, Alexei Semenov or Ken Klee, another retread like Dmitri Kalinin or Thomas Pock, or a blast from the past like Sergei Zubov.
Tags: Alexei Semenov Bobby Sanguinetti Boston Bruins Brandon Dubinsky Corey Potter Dan Girardi Dennis Seidenberg Derek Morris Dmitri Kalinin Glen Sather John Tortorella Ken Klee Marc Staal Matt Gilroy Michael Del Zotto Michal Rozsival Mike Sauer Montreal Canadiens Paul Mara Sergei Zubov Thomas Pock Wade Redden Washington Capitals