Doesn’t life suck right now without Ranger’s hockey? Well life could be worse I’m sure but I think I speak for all Ranger fans when I say, “I miss Ranger’s hockey a great deal.” As the Stanley Cup Final is coming to a close the NHL off-season will go into full force. Starting with the draft and then moving towards free agency. The Ranger off-season has already begun with the firing of John Tortorella and the hiring of Alain Vigneault. The assistants have yet to be named so I am sure the Ranger organization will go about that as their next step. But then comes the tricky part of the off-season. What players should come and go? The Rangers have no picks in the 1st or 2nd round of this years NHL Entry Draft. Will they move up? Will the Rangers sign a big free agent this summer? The question for the Rangers is what pieces are they missing that is keeping them from playing for Lord Stanley. I do not think the Rangers are far off from playing for the cup however I believe they must do certain things to propel them to the next level. Here is the New York Ranger off-season dream list:
1) Buyout Brad Richards- According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post the Rangers will have 14 million dollars in cap space if they choose to keep Brad Richards on the roster this year. That is 14 million dollars to re-sign their core players. (McDonagh, Stepan, Hagelin, and Zuccs) It will be tight to re-sign those guys if they choose to keep Brad Richards. Especially next year when they have to re-sign Lundqvist, Callahan and etc. But the biggest reason I believe the Rangers should buyout Brad Richards is simply because of his performance. Brad Richards fell off a cliff last season and struggled heavily. He was the one player who did not struggle either because of Tortorella. In fact, Tortorella gave him the biggest leash on the team. He had top power play minutes and he had so much leeway with the coach. He could not get it done. His production has been dropping off every season as well. I think it would be best if the Rangers went with Stepan, Brassard, Boyle, and either Miller or Lindberg down the middle next year. Now this doesn’t mean Richards can’t turn it around with the Rangers or any other team next year but for his salary with the club as of now he is not worth it. Especially with who the Rangers have to sign in the next two seasons.
2) Re-sign The Core Players- The Rangers must re-sign these players for this amount of money. Ryan McDonagh for 5 years/25 million, Carl Hagelin for 4 years/10 million, Derek Stepan for 6 years/24 million, Mats Zuccarello for 3 years/6 million. There is no excuse to let any of these players walk. These salaries are very fair and worthy given each player’s performance this past season.
3) Re-sign Ryane Clowe For The Right Price- Clowe is a player the Rangers need and missed in the series against Boston. He is big, physical and can score. That is a type of player the Rangers need just based on his size. However, it is important that they do not overpay for Clowe to stay a Ranger. When healthy he was good for the Blueshirts but he had the concussion that kept him out for a lot of the playoffs. He is 31 years of age and one injury away from really hurting his career in the long-term. I believe the Rangers should re-sign him but not for the 4 million dollars he was probably going to ask for had he not gotten injured. The Rangers should negotiate with Clowe to bring him back for 2-3 years and about 2-2.5 million dollars per year. That is a fair offer to Clowe and I believe he should stay in New York for that price. Again, he is a guy the Rangers need with his size but he must be worth this amount in order to bring him back.
4) Bolster Up The Line-Up On Offense And Defense During Free Agency- The Rangers need some more size which is why I stated above
that they must bring back Clowe for the right price. The Rangers also need some more toughness on defense and offense. A guy the Rangers MUST bring in is Matt Hendricks from the Capitals. He is a big, tough and a 3rd or 4th line player that can hit. Hendricks is a certain type of player the Rangers are lacking. He can make a difference by giving a team a certain amount of energy through his physical play. This would be the perfect signing for the Rangers. He is by no means a flashy free agent but he is one the Rangers need. Matt Hendricks will make the Rangers a much tougher team and is a prime player for the Rangers to get this off-season on offense. Another player the Rangers should get on defense is Scott Hannan from San Jose. The 34 year old defenseman is someone the Rangers need on defense for size and toughness as well. It is important that they get a feisty defensive defenseman that they have been lacking for years now. With Hannan being a free agent he will be the perfect man to sign. By bringing in Hannan and Hendricks the Rangers will be a lot bigger and a lot tougher going into next season.