Now that the season is finally over for the New York Rangers, here are five important questions
Every time a season ends, it’s time to reflect on what just happened. The New York Rangers were barely competitive in a three game sweep, but they might have been in over their heads. While it was fun while it lasted, here are five questions that face the Rangers’ front office.
#1: How good are they?
Most observers did not expect the Rangers to be as good as they were this season. But as good as they were, they are still a flawed team with some glaring holes. While they boast two of the best players in the game in Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin, their corps of forwards is incredibly thin. When they lost Jesper Fast and with Brendan Lemieux suspended, they had to use Steve Fogarty, a player who is a UFA after this season and may not even be offered a new contract.
Their fourth line was outplayed throughout this series. In Game Three, the line of Greg McKegg, Phil Di Giuseppe and Julien Gauthier was made up of three players not good enough to play for the Hurricanes. That was the line that was on the ice when Carolina tied the game in the second period, stuck in their zone for a two minute eight second shift. That was the line that didn’t think of giving Marc Staal a stick so he could defend.
Brendan Smith played well in this series, aside from the occasional bonehead play or dumb penalty. But he was playing on the top defensive pairing with Jacob Trouba and any team with Brendan Smith on the top defensive pair is not going to go far. They have one prospect who has played one minute in the NHL, Libor Hajek. Their defensive depth was Brandon Crawley and Darren Raddysh, not household names.
The only position that they are in great shape is in goal with Igor Shesterkin ready to take over.
Depth is an issue and the biggest reason why the team is simply not that good…yet.