If you thought the Rangers are having a poor offseason you may want to rethink that notion. When you consider how many good players the rest of the Atlantic Division lost, the Rangers are having a great offseason. The biggest player the Rangers lost this summer was Brandon Prust. Compare losing Prust to losing guys like Zach Parise, Matt Carle, Jordan Staal, and PA Parenteau. It doesn’t even compare.
Let’s have a look at the other teams in the Atlantic and see how their offseasons are going:
Penguins- With Jordan Staal rejecting a contract extension the Penguins were forced to trade him away to Carolina, because they knew he would walk away as a unrestricted free agent next summer. For the time being the Penguins got worse as Brandon Sutter is not the player Jordan Staal is. In the future I think this will be a good trade but right now the Penguins are not as good as they were before the NHL draft. They also traded away veteran defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the Coyotes.
Bottom line as of right now the Penguins haven’t done anything to upgrade their team. They managed to sign Sidney Crosby to a lifetime contract, but really who didn’t see that coming? They were rumored to be interested in Ryan Suter but obviously they didn’t acquire him. The Penguins lost to the Flyers in the playoffs because they played horrific defense, and at the moment they haven’t done anything to improve that.
Flyers- It wouldn’t be a true offseason if the Flyers weren’t rumored to be involved with every free agent, and every player on the trading block. This year they haven’t disappointed in that regard except they couldn’t get any big names to go their way. They’ve lost Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle to free agency, as well as James Van Riemsdyk due to trade. With Chris Pronger likely to never come off of LTIR ever again, the Flyers traded Van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn to upgrade their defense. They also added Bruno Gervais as a depth defenseman as well as Ruslan Fedotenko as a depth forward.
Losing Matt Carle is a big loss to the Flyers as it takes away one of their better defenseman and their 2nd unit power play quarterback. The Fedotenko signing was good because it gives them a good forward in a defensive role (something they need more of). Not re-signing Carle was a definite loss though.
Devils- Zach Parise, Zach Parise, Zach Parise. The Devils failed to re-sign their captain and the biggest free agent on the market, and the rest of the Division rejoices that Parise signed out west. The Devils solved a potential goalie problem by re-signing Marty Brodeur and Johan Hedberg. But with Hedberg and Brodeur ages 39 and 40 respectively, you wonder how effective they can continue to be going forward. They also re-signed Bryce Salvador who had an unbelievable (for him) offensive output in the playoffs. The Devils also brought back their 4th line energy guys in Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier, and Ryan Carter.
When you lose a player of Parise’s magnitude, it’s hard and nearly impossible to replace him. Most of the time you never end up replacing a player of that caliber.
Islanders- The Isles lost a big time producer in PA Parenteau. For most teams it isn’t the worst thing in the world to lose a player of Parenteau’s caliber, but for a cap floor and cash strapped Islander team this is a big loss. The Islanders did some good signing depth defenseman Matt Carkner (I can only imagine how crazy he goes against NYR now that he’s an Islander) and trading for Lubomir Visnovsky. Losing Parenteau hurts though, and is a step back in the team’s rebuild.
So when you think about it, the Rangers are doing very well this offseason compared to the rest of their division. The Rangers are winning this offseason by virtue of doing nothing and the Rangers look primed to compete for another division title. However, I don’t suggest the team sit on it’s hands the rest of the offseason. There are still some holes to fill, and you know the rest of the teams in the division will try to get better also.
For the meantime though, the Rangers should be feeling good about where they stand in the division.
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