It is no secret that the Rangers are missing a second top-six center in their lineup. They were expected to replace Derek Stepan but haven’t to this point. It also seems unlikely that they will do this anyway this year.
The New York Rangers are struggling. Between the coach not adequately doing his job and players not doing what they are paid to do, the team already seems to be falling out of a playoff spot. The most prominent reason other than Alain Vigneault is the absence of a center. Something, the Rangers might have to wait a while for. Maybe as long as a year or two.
We have some
Mika Zibaenjad has quietly played well in his first few games as the Rangers top center. Unfortunately, his excellent work has gone underappreciated given that the team looks pathetic to start their season. Following Zibanejad though, the Rangers technically have centers, but not the ones needed to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
The remainder of the Rangers defensive depth includes David Desharnais and Adam Cracknell. In other words, this is not good enough by any stretch of the imagination. No team in the NHL will succeed when these career third and fourth liners are filling in the positions meant for players with a much higher skill set than they possess.
We won’t get one
Sad to say, but the third and fourth line centers that are playing the role once held by Derek Stepan will continue to do so. The Rangers find themselves in a position where they will not likely be able to successfully trade for a player that could help their team significantly. Earlier in the season and offseason, rumors swirled of Bozak coming to New York. But with the Maple Leafs looking to make a run at the Stanley Cup, they won’t move anyone unless they get a significant return.
That brings up the next point; the Rangers have no assets. Other than Nick Holden, the Rangers organization is not willing to part ways with anyone else who holds value to the team. If the Rangers are serious about making a run for the cup, they have to be willing to move these players. If forwards like Kevin Hayes or Jimmy Vesey and a defenseman like Anthony DeAngelo don’t come to mind when the team is looking for centers, they likely won’t acquire one.
So Rangers fans, get Matt Duchene out of your heads, he is not coming here by any means. Nor will Bozak or Galchenyuk or anyone. If the Rangers are lucky, they can maybe snag Shipachyov from Vegas. Other than that, the Rangers have no shot of acquiring a center to backup Zibanejad. Worse than that, since the Rangers are not getting the center, they won’t be seeing any Stanley Cup in June.