As the New York Rangers made their way to the 2015-2016 NHL season, it was my opinion that the they were in need of a legitimate scoring threat. Now this is not a new request for any team or fan of said team. The true issue here now becomes the longevity of Henrik Lundqvist and more importantly, his ability to shoulder the team for the foreseeable future. In his 11th year as the goaltender for the New York Rangers and with the moniker of “King” he needs to win a Cup and he needs to win a Cup now. Mike Richter carried the Rangers through the 90s winning the Cup in only his 5th year, Lundqvist is certainly running out of time, now entering into the backside of his career.
The trend for Stanley Cup winning teams has been not one top goal scorer but two or more. Listing the last winners: Chicago Blackhawks with Toews and Kane, LA Kings with Kopitar, Gaborik, and Justin Williams, Boston Bruins with Lucic and Krejci, Pittsburgh Penguins with Crosby and Malkin, and the Detroit Redwings with Zetterberg and Datsyuk. The Rangers major threat is Rick Nash, otherwise known as “The Invisible Man” come playoff time.
There is no other legit scoring threat on the New York Rangers and the “King” is not going to be able to get a Cup without some air cover. Some of the notable grabs this past offseason were Oshie, Kessel, Saad, and Lucic. I understand that the Rangers are right up against the cap and can’t take on more salary, but there has to be some way to move some of the heavier contracts (Staal and Girardi to name a few) along with some of their younger players (Hayes, Kreider, Glass, or Lindberg) to get a scoring threat to push them over the edge like what the Washington Capitals are currently doing. Jeff Gorton, Rangers General Manager, needs to do something and quickly. If you see what Capitals are doing with their addition of Oshie and Williams and the Kings with Lucic there has to be some options out there for Gorton.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking to mortgage the future for this season, but nobody is going to hand over a top goal scorer for a bag of pucks. So who is available? Well in the UFA class of 2016 the list starts with the Bolts Steven Stamkos, or St. Louis’ David Bakes; possible rental players. Inner division trades are so unlikely especially because of the tight points race and everyone thinking that they can make the playoffs; so Kyle Okposo and Jakub Voracek are not options (nor would I want to see Chris Kreider in a Flyers jersey or Kevin Hayes in an Islander jersey). Also, there is the Anaheim Ducks Ryan Kesler who is not as elite as he once was, but then again look at what the LA Kings have done with some retreads.
So what is it I’m asking Mr. Gorton? I’ll tell you. With the Rangers playing more playoff games than any other team in the NHL over the past four years, I do not want to make any rash decisions. Things are good. But take note that Doug Weight and Tony Amonte were once New York Rangers, up and comers before they were elite All-Stars in the NHL, and even they were traded away in the spring of 1994… And we all know what transpired that season. So I am suggesting to package a top defensemen with one of our prospects and bring in what is needed to win a Cup for the “King”… How about that Mr. Gorton?