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Messier says Rangers need more depth

Jun 5, 2012, 1:07 PM EDT

Mark Messier AP

Mark Messier — the former Rangers great, now serving as an assistant to GM Glen Sather — shared his thoughts on the Blueshirts on Monday and if his words were any indication, there will be one key buzzword around New York this offseason:

Depth.

“Moving forward, as you can see, teams that win the Stanley Cup get stronger as series move on,” Messier told the New York Post. “So for us this year the big thing is to add depth so we don’t have to use as many players as much as we did.

“The more depth you have, the less chance of wearing players down and having injuries.”

The Rangers’ depth — or, more accurately, their lack of it — is a big finding from the organization’s post-playoff autopsy. A laundry list of injuries were released following the loss to New Jersey (most notably, Marian Gaborik’s torn rotator cuff) and, in retrospect, the postseason minutes logged by certain guys does seem a little nuts.

New York essentially rolled with five defensemen through 20 games: Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto and Anton Stralman, who played decidedly less than the aforementioned four. Stu Bickel, Steve Eminger flipped back and forth in the No. 6 role, but neither played much.

Up front, scoring depth was a major concern. The Rangers got almost zero production from their bottom-six and it’s scary to think where they would’ve been without the surprising scoring punch from Chris Kreider, who tied for second on the team with five playoff goals. (He scored more goals than Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Ruslan Fedotenko, Brandon Prust, John Mitchell, Mike Rupp and Brandon Dubinsky combined.)

It’ll be interesting to see how Sather and Messier fix the depth issue in free agency. The Rangers project to have $21 million in cap space, though that figure depends on the upcoming CBA.

  1. mclovinhockey - Jun 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Their depth is insane… They just need more skilled O

  2. mrpigs - Jun 5, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    We def need to add dependable scoring… Go Rangers!

  3. richieranger - Jun 5, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    We need messier,leech,and graves.

  4. stakex - Jun 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    The first thing the Rangers need is at least one more solid defensemen. Your never going to win the cup playing just five guys on D (it was closer to four with the Rangers).

    Second, they need some more scoring. Perhaps the biggest part of that is they need the guys they have to step up better. Ok, your not expecting much from Mitchell, Rupp, Fedotenko, and even Prust. However guys like Stepan, Hagelin, and Dubinsky need to be better. Hagelin might be young and this might have been his first playoffs… but he can’t go 17 games without a goal like that. Stepan is in the same boat, with just 1 goal in 20 games in the playoffs. Thats awful. It also hurts when a guy like Richards doesn’t score a goal in the final series. Hes making a lot of money to score the big goals, and he didn’t deliver.

    The one positive for the Rangers is Kreider. Even with limited ice time, he still scored 5 goals in the 18 playoff games he played. Thats pretty amazing when you consider those are his first 18 NHL games. It seems quite likely hes going to be a star for the Rangers, and will no doubt give them another dangerous weapon next season. I would also look for the Rangers to try to add a big name scorer, either Nash (I sure hope not) or Parise if he leaves the Devils.

    One or two solid defensemen, a better prepared Kreider, and one more top tier forward will make the Rangers a scary team next year. Just imagine if the guys already on the roster that slacked this year in the playoffs play to their potential….

    • DED - Jun 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      I agree with most of what you wrote. Bear in mind that the Rangers have one of the youngest rosters in the NHL. 2009 they get bounced out in the first round. 2010 they didn’t make the playoffs. 2011 they get bounced in the first round. Suddenly in the 2011-12 season they get the #1 seed and make it to the Conference Finals. I think everyone in the Rangers organization needs to step back and take a deep breath before they start wheeling and dealing and resort to playing the free agent game again.

    • brian32556 - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      If Sauer can come back from that concussion, he solves the one big D position. They have a lot of young talent and I hope they don’t sacrifice it for a “shot in the dark” scorer.

    • jeffk143 - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      I am not a Monday morning quaterback, or however that saying goes. All season I said the depth was lacking in terms of the 3rd defensive pairing, all on nyrangers.com, and many criticized this.I am reading different stories now acknowledging this. I like what you wrote, the 1st and biggest need is for 2 defensemen. If they have dmen they trust, the forwards can play their position more, instead of coming down low to help out, then causing them to sprawl out to block shots from the point. Not only will this help them out defensively, but the forwards can begin their rush from up high, as opposed to down low, so by bringing in 2 skilled dmen, their offense will automatically improve as well. Years ago they went after Redden, even though many questioned it. Shea Weber is the 1 guy who instantly changes this team from very good to a real Cup contender, he isn’t a Redden, he eats minutes, he instantly improves the power play, he makes a smart 1st pass up ice, reads the ice well, and is physical. He is the guy they should pine for, not Suter. Kreider will also help out, he will get the opposition to take a step back because of his speed. If they bring in Weber and another dman, this team will score more goals next year, lots more. Many failed to see you can make a team more offensive by bringing in defensemen.

  5. quonce - Jun 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Rangers suck.

    • brian32556 - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      …and obviously you are a douchebag.

  6. unablogger77 - Jun 5, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    They need to open it up more, they have the talent, but their Dr. Frankenstein coach has the wrong approach. With a goalie like Henry, they should attack more ather than being a counter team. The team was so damn beat up from being on their heels and taking pucks to their grills all year they had nothing left. Now is the perfect time for Sather to coach and go with the Grant Fuhr approach and win some 5-4 games. Oh, and who wants to see a copycat league of sitting back and restricting flow ? Nobody, and that’s why the league will try and prevent Torts style from winning also no matter how much talent they acquire.

    • brian32556 - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM

      There may be some merit in your argument. They were pretty beat up.

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