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It’s New York Rangers day on PHT

Aug 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Henrik Lundqvist AP

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The New York Rangers.

After a rocky start paved with road games, the New York Rangers enjoyed a 2013-14 season that would be deemed a success by most accounts. That being said, life is often very unkind to teams that are on the losing end of a Stanley Cup Final … a point that probably isn’t lost on Alain Vigneault.

It doesn’t help that the offseason was a rocky one for this Rangers team.

Depth was one of the strengths that really stood out during their scrappy playoff run, yet salary cap realities prompted the departures of useful complimentary players like Brian Boyle and Benoit Pouliot. It was a no-brainer to buy out Brad Richards, but it also probably leaves a hole down the middle. There are also more than a few stats-inclined people who will believe that the organization erred in essentially choosing Dan Girardi over Anton Stralman.

Interestingly, the Rangers now rely a bit more heavily on the high-end. Martin St. Louis gets a full season with his new team. Rick Nash aims to redeem himself after another disappointing playoff year. Dan Boyle hopes to prove that he isn’t washed up just yet. Henrik Lundqvist‘s new contract kicks in while prominent players including Marc Staal and Derek Stepan aim to earn new deals of their own.

With plenty of Eastern Conference teams making key improvements, it’s difficult to label the Rangers as favorites to return to the championship round next season. Last year’s team played at its best with their backs against the wall, though, so such thoughts might only benefit New York in 2014-15.

Let’s have some fun probing the many fascinating questions facing this Rangers team, then.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    While probably not a “fascinating question” (O’Brien’s words), my curiosity is whether Martin St. Louis can be productive. His last season can best be described as hectic: his petulant demand to be traded from TB, his play with the Rangers basically sucking during what remained of his regular season with NY, his mother’s untimely death.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how he adjusts this year.

    • arrow43050 - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      How do you know that St. Louis’ demand to be traded was petulant? Were you in the Lightning offices and listening on every phone call? So you know exactly what was said and what happened between St. Louis and the Lightning/Yzerman? How about this scenario, St. Louis walks into Yzerman’s office and says “you know, my contract is over after next season, can we work on extending it a few years?” and then Yzerman replies, “well, we appreciate your service but we’re going to focus on our younger players and won’t be spending money on you to resign you.” St. Louis feels that he won’t get as much time and thinks this will cause him to lose a significant amount of money during the few years he has left. Do I know this happened? No, but I also don’t know that this very plausible scenario didn’t happen, so I don’t think anyone should chastise St. Louis’ request to be traded.

      • patthehockeyfan - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:55 AM

        You’re right. Neither of us knows exactly what happened. I was just relying on what I read in the 700+ articles about St. Louis’ perceived Olympic snub and his not-so-coincidental demand to be traded immediately afterwards.

      • hockey412 - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        I’m pretty sure that even Yzerman said that Marty wanted out b/c of hard feelings about the Olympics. He also demanded to only be dealt to the Rangers. Whether or not that’s petulance or not is a matter of opinion but I think that’s what she is getting out.

        Personally I have nothing but respect for Marty (and Yzerman) and both will always be class acts. But I do not think it happened like you described.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Sure, there could have been other factors and the Olympics was the final straw.

        But what was Yazerman to do. Canada had enough good players for two teams, and picking one of players over another possibly more qualified would have been second guessed as a conflict of interest. Disapointments abounded.

        Would you have held out for Stamkos in case he was recovered enough? MSL was the 1st alternate called when Stamkos was a no go.

      • arrow43050 - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        Yzerman did not say or hint at why St. Louis wanted out. Clearly it was something that the two of the did not want to discuss publicly. Doesn’t it seem really childish and way out of character for St. Louis to say or do that? That, if nothing else, is what leads me to believe there HAS to be more to it. It’s the most logical explanation, since there is no reliable source on the issues involved.

  2. hockey412 - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Really hard to say whether they can repeat the performance with this roster, but wouldn’t doubt it. $1.4M is too much for Tanner Glass, watching him the past few years makes me wonder what he brings aside from penalty kill minutes, but getting Stempniak for $900k is crazy – he’s worth much more. Having McDonagh locked up for so little really helps them.

    What’s the deal with McIlrath? Is he close, or just not of NHL caliber?

    • mactruck27 - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      Still has a ways to go, mostly with decision making. He’ll pinch to make the big hit and get burned; his skating isn’t good enough to recover from poor positioning either. From what I’ve heard it’s mostly stuff you can teach, and he’s lost a lot of time in his development to injury, but it remains to be seen if he’ll ever cut it at the NHL level.

  3. charastein - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    Thank you NYR for bumping the Habs in the playoffs.

    Nash needs a good rebound year to justify the big bucks he makes.

  4. stepanup - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Stempniak can be Pouliot, JT Miller will have a positive impact, and the fourth line is now filled entirely of fast penalty killers. You’d have to assume that at minimum Kreider, John Moore, Stepan, Nash will improve from last year.

    I’m excited about Brassard’s bigger role, and I hope JT can lock down 3C, if not, then Matthew Lombardi can hopefully be that guy. Either way, this team will still go deep.

    • 7mantel - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Good analogy !

  5. ronniethec - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    I think there are members of the press and fan base that talk about St. Louis as if he was a young up and coming super star. This guys best days are behind him. I would rather hear about the Rangers young good talent. That being said, there is only one team from last season to make it back to the finals, and it’s not the Rangers.

    • patthehockeyfan - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      lol, ronniethec. Sort of miss your GO KINGS! Not really, though.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      Do you mean the conference finals perhaps? If not you’re wrong as the Kings were not in the SC finals 2 years in a row. And if concerence finals, you’re also wrong as the Hawks were in the SC then WC finals 2 years in a row.

      You may want to consider you’re facts more carefully before taking opportunities to gloat on threads unrelated to your team.

    • billiam55 - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      ……..ur an idiot.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        @billiam55 – brillient post, whoever it was intended for. Incredible display of intellect.

      • billiam55 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        it was to ronniethec post obviously. if it was to ur post, my post would have been moved to the right. simmer down.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 19, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        @billiam55, Thanks 4 clarifying. But actually, you can’t depend on the indent. Not only can folks inadvertantly select the wrong level, I’ve seen multiple times where a reply is not an option in the post you want to respond to, so you have to gom up a level. FYI, Scott

  6. blomfeld - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    THEY ‘MEANT’ WELL …

    We wish you Rangers a speedy recovery and may God bless your enterprise in going forward …

    Blomfeld on behalf of LA Kings Nation

  7. schneider99 - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    How’s Anthony Duclair looking? Any chance he makes the squad/plays next year? He did pretty well in juniors if I recall correctly (though obviously success in juniors doesn’t always translate to success in the processionals).

  8. billiam55 - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    I’m hoping Nash has 40 goals this year.

    • 950003cups - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Why not hope for the Easter bunny and world peace (not the one on the Knicks) while you’re at it.

      • arrow43050 - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        oh look, it’s the guy who will be changing his name to 570003 cups in 43 years

  9. billiam55 - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    that tanner glass signing is the only stupid ass signing we have made. other than that though, a fair offseason. all about that speed. NYR are gonna be a fast team this season.

  10. homerx - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Duclair is still tearing it up but as said that does not often translate to the NHL level.

  11. lennaykekua - Aug 19, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Will Jozef Balej finally break through and make the Rangers roster?

  12. ronniethec - Aug 19, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Billiam55. What part of my comment do you take issue with? I think at his age St. Louis has seen his best days. Am I wrong? Or am I wrong thinking that the Kings will be as good if not better next season with Gaborick playing for the entire season? Am I wrong in my thinking that the Kings are one of the best teams in the league and the Rangers are not? Please set me straight if my thinking is erroneous.

  13. nach0mancandysandwich - Aug 19, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    i guess 2 articles [and one about an rfa signing] constitutes rangers day on this blog…hey pht…STEP YO GAME UP!!!

  14. paulerhythm - Aug 20, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    I think losing Stralman and Brian Boyle will hurt more than Ranger fans realize. Going to be very difficult to get back to the SCF, let alone make the playoffs as every Atlantic Division team, except Carolina made some significant moves. We shall see, eh?

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