The New York Rangers are in a bit of a pickle, for the following reasons:
— Their current roster lasted just five games in this year’s playoffs, and didn’t deserve to last any longer. After being soundly defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Henrik Lundqvist said, “I think we played a team that was smarter, better and had better goaltending.”
— Keith Yandle is an unrestricted free agent. If he re-signs, it won’t be cheap. If he doesn’t, he had 47 points this season, the fourth most on the team. Who replaces that? Who runs the power play? It won’t be Dan Boyle, because he’s probably going to retire.
— The Rangers don’t have a particularly deep group of prospects. In fact, Hockey Futures ranks them 27th out of 30.
— Nor do they have a first-round draft pick this summer. Which is nothing new. They haven’t had one since 2012. Hence, the dearth of blue-chip prospects.
According to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, the “fallout from the Rangers’ first-round crash-and-burn elimination by the Penguins will be substantial but neither immediate nor of a knee-jerk variety.”
Brooks cites sources that tell him “there is belief from the top down — starting with CEO Jim Dolan — the club is in need of an overhaul in the form of a transfusion of new and younger blood pumped into the system.”
If true, how the Rangers accomplish that goal will be interesting to watch. They could try the trade route to add young talent, but then, what does GM Jeff Gorton really have to offer?
Would there be interest in Nash? He has two years remaining on his contract, at a cap hit of $7.8 million. He had 42 goals last year, but had just 15 in 60 games this year.
Again, it’s a pickle. The Rangers have had some deep playoff runs the last few years. They’ve come close.
But when teams mortgage their future and trade away first-round picks, this is what happens. Eventually, the chickens come home to roost.