This summer saw a few changes on the ice and in the front office. The new G.M. Jeff Gorton signed 20 layers from inside and outside the organization and has 2 open spots to bring players in through trade, freea agent signings, or from overseas once their seasons are over (such as Pavel Buchnevich or Carl Klingberg). The Rangers finally have the depth that they have been missing for the last few years that when the injuries occurred, they had no answers. Is this the year? Let us watch tonight the celebration of the Blackhawks of what its like to finally reach the title. Last year the Rangers were the best team in the regular season, but injuries stopped them 1 game short of making it to the finals. Do they have the depth this year to battle through it?
Jeff Gorton got Oscar Lindberg, Dylan McIlrath, Marek Hrivik, and Matt Bodie to accept less than their qualifying offers to buy into the team concept. Gorton got J.T. Miller and Emerson Etem to accept only their qualifier offer instead of bigger deals. Derek Stepan took what many feel was a hometown discount to stay longterm in New York with his 6 year contract with a yearly caphit of $6.5 million. Then you add in cheap 1 year signings of Stalberg and Stoll that add leadership and experience. The depth that was added at forward was Megna, Gibbons, Adams, and Lindblad that have all been assigned to the AHL waiting for a callup. On the defensive side, Rafeal Diaz was sent down after being beat out by Dylan McIlrath for the 7th spot. Having Rafeal Diaz and Brady Skjei ready if any of the top 7 faulter. In goal, the Rangers will be 4 deep once Mackenzie Skapski gets healthy, with Lundqvist, Raanta, and Hellberg ahead of him.
With the loss of Martin St. Louis, Cam Talbot, Carl Hagelin but gaining Stalberg, Raanta, Etem, and Stoll along with ading from inside the organization Oscar Lindberg and Dylan McIlrath, the Rangers seem to be stronger. Not only should Stoll and Lindberg make a major difference in the faceoff circle, but another year of a long playoff run should help players such as Miller, Hayes, Kreider, Fast, and Yandle.
To make the Playoffs, the Rangers will probably need 96 points. I will say that not only the players learned alot from the last two years, but also coach Vigneault. I espect him rotating players through the lineup due to the depth that the Rangers have. By rotating players in and out of the lineup he wil keep them fresh throughout the season and have a lineup that can win every night. I still wouldn't be surprised to see a few changes a week or two into the season to tweak the lineup and make the Rangers just a touch better than they are today.
LET'S DROP THE PUCK AND LET'S GO RANGERS!!!!