Jan 12, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) and New York Rangers right wing Ryan Callahan (24) celebrate their win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Rangers Ready For A Cup Run?

When the New York Rangers started off this season I, personally, had very high hopes for the team. However, after their horrible 3-6 start on that seemingly never-ending road trip it appeared as though the Rangers were not headed for any sort of glory. The team looked like a group of chickens that had recently gotten their heads chopped off; they weren’t scoring, they weren’t playing defense and the goaltenders were not stopping any shots. It seemed as if it was going to be a long season for the Rangers but after going 24-15-3 and jumping up into a playoff spot, it seems that the team has finally found its groove and might find glory after all.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Needless to say, we’ve all witnessed the massive turnaround and have come to realize that the Rangers are in fact capable of doing something exciting. Mats Zuccarello and Brad Richards have taken on the role of being the team’s leaders, Richards with 36 points and Zuccarello with 35. The Rangers are going to need Richards’ veteran experience if they hope to accomplish anything in the post season. Derek Stepan, who’s having a slow season in terms of points especially after what we saw last season, still is third on the team in points with 30 and when he finds his game it will be a crucial part of the team’s postseason success. Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider are both having incredible seasons each with 27 points at this moment in the season and have become key components of the Rangers lineup. The Rangers have found success on all four lines, everyone is contributing to the team and all the players are doing what they’re supposed to do. Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist have reemerged into the superstars we know them to be which is crucial for the Rangers.

All that being said, what is missing from the Rangers? Is there really something missing from the lineup? Coach Alain Vigneault‘s system has recently allowed for almost guaranteed offense and consistent defense, the Rangers are in the top 10 in the NHL on the power play and on the penalty kill, can there really be something missing? Yes, there are two areas where the Rangers are lacking, one more so then the other. While I love the addition of Daniel Carcillo, one man is not going to be enough to protect the entire team. As lame as this sounds Carcillo needs a partner in crime, someone to help shoulder the workload of protecting the Rangers superstars. You can argue all you want that once Derek Dorsett returns he’s going to be that guy, but if he’s going to be that guy he has to stop losing every fight in which he engages. Next, what the Rangers really need is an offensive defenseman, not what Michael Del Zotto is pretending to be, a REAL offensive defenseman, someone who can be in the top four, paired preferably with Marc Staal and can contribute to offense but can also cause some trouble with other team’s top guys. Think someone like Mike Green from the Washington Capitals or Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Anyway, that’s my bit! Let me know what you think by commenting below or by tweeting @bluelinestation or @kennybelvin and as always, Lets Go Rangers!

Tags: Alain Vigneault Brad Richards Chris Kreider Derek Stepan Henrik Lundqvist Mats Zuccarello New York Rangers Rick Nash Ryan McDonagh

  • Pivot

    Are you guys 14? Because I was about that age the last time I thought wins & losses mattered in fights in the NHL. Do you really think coaches tell their players this guy is 0 for 6 in fights this year so we can get away with anything. That’s foolish. What matters is that you have guys to step in willing. I loved the Carcillo pickup even tho most hated him for his time in Philly. That’s not who we got him from and since he’s been here the opposition has backed off a lot. He’s ready & willing to fight anyone. Same goes for Dorsett who once fought the Beast in Buffalo. If anyone takes liberties on a teammate he’s willing to drop the gloves. Win or lose. Which really doesn’t even exist outside of the fans. You cross a line with our top players, you’re leaving this game with some bumps & bruises. That’s the point of having guys like Carcillo & Dorsett. Both of which are also good forecheckers and able scorers. Carcillo-Moore-Dorsett is a capable 4th line that can spend a shift in the other teams zone. Dorsett kills penalties as well. Boyle can play Center on that line as well but his role has diminished as this season has progressed so I think the Rangers trade him at some point. They don’t need both him & Moore. Moore is faster and a better scorer along with all the things Boyle does at a cheaper price tag.

    • http://www.bluelinestation.com/ PuckDani

      Moore doesn’t kill penalties as well as Boyle nor does he win as many face-offs. Boyle’s production has shifted due to the change in position. Boyle isn’t going anywhere, Sather already said that point blank. He’s turned down many offers already. Dorsett is one of my favorites for his tenacity and willingness to drop mitts and stand up for his teammates. He doesn’t intimidate heavy weights though so the second thoughts aren’t there. It’s not about wins and loses but reducing the desire to fight or make dirty hits. I think getting taunted by the opposition in one game made Vigneault realize he needs grit, though I’m not one who thinks we need bash brothers. I prefer guys like Kreider or McIlrath (when healthy) who are skilled and use their size well.

  • SiddiK

    So your proposed solution to the PMD is Green or Faulk? You know, one is unlike than the other, in terms of age, experience, proven point production. How about cap hit? You just gloss over it blissfully.
    And what does this even mean?
    “but can also cause some trouble with other team’s top guys. “.
    This site needs a a writer instead of a kid pretending to be.

    • http://www.bluelinestation.com/ PuckDani

      If you comprehended what was written you would have seen Kenny choose to say someone LIKE Green or Faulk. Not actually those two players. FYI McDonagh and Girardi “cause some trouble with other team’s top guys” by not allowing production.

      • SiddiK

        It’s the job of the writer to make it comprehensible. As it is, it’s not. There is a big difference between Faulk and Green, but you don’t seem to comprehend that either.

        • http://www.bluelinestation.com/ PuckDani

          Green is a power play machine with a lot of offense. Faulk is more physical less on points. Paired with Staal you would make Green to offensive defenseman or Faulk the stay home defenseman and push Staal forward more. I haven’t seen anyone else complaining about the comprehensiveness of this piece…

          • SiddiK

            Wow, that’s pretty good start to at least try to explain the difference, but you are still not addressing the cap aspect. I just realized you are the editor. Have a good day gentlemen and good luck with building some credibility with this site, you will need it along with a better editor.

          • http://www.bluelinestation.com/ PuckDani

            Most hockey fans understand that the “cap issue” is no longer what it was thanks to the new Rogers communication deal. Though given your lack of knowledge regarding that aspect I’ll go ahead and conclude you are American. As far as our credibility, well if we didn’t have that we wouldn’t have open doors with NHL staff, which I do. But thanks for your concern. Out of the 12 thousand plus readers we’ve had in January alone, 53% are regular readers, you seem to be the only one taking exception to an article which is personal opinion.