The Rangers management must get Lundqvist the Cup he deserves

NHL

When your team’s only superstar is in net, you don’t win the Stanley Cup. When your team’s highest paid player is the goaltender you don’t win the Stanley Cup. It’s really as simple as that and it’s the problem the New York Rangers have had since the 2005 lockout. Henrik Lundqvist is their superstar. One of the most legendary goaltenders of all-time is great to have but he can’t put the puck in the net for you. Let’s be absolutely clear here: The New York Rangers will not win a Stanley Cup until they can find and obtain at least one offensively minded bonafide superstar.

Alexander Ovechkin was an absolute beast for the Washington Capitals on their way to winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. He led the playoffs with 15 goals and even when he didn’t have the puck on his stick he did all he could to ensure the opponent would not have an easy time on the ice. Not to be understated are the contributions of Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom who both performed admirably and were stars in their own right in helping the Capitals get their first title in franchise history.

We don’t have an Alexander Ovechkin. We don’t have an Evgeny Kuznetsov. We don’t have a Nicklas Backstrom. A dominant superstar winger. A crafty center with dazzling hands. One of the best pure passers of this generation. What do the Rangers need to do? Well it all starts at the draft. It’s not all about the free agent signings (although if John Tavares did sign here… nevermind. Don’t get your hopes up.), it’s about drafting extremely well, hitting on your picks and making key trades at key times.

If the Rangers want to win a Stanley Cup in the foreseeable future, there can be no more incidents like the 2006 and 2010 drafts.  Management needs to perfect on their picks in the next coming years. They can’t afford to go off-board or reach too far. If they know a player is good, take him. If they see a player they don’t want to pass up on, then trade up for him. Don’t take another Bobby Sanguinetti over Claude Giroux, don’t take another Dylan McIlrath over Vladimir Tarasenko or Cam Fowler. Also, management better hope that Lias Andersson pans out as well because Casey Mittelstadt looks like he could be forming the next great 1-2 punch with Jack Eichel in Buffalo and they left him sitting there at #7 last year. We’re not going to talk about 2003 because the Jessiman selection was likely the worst Rangers 1st round picks in history.

Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts)

The Rangers currently sit at nine this year but they should look at every single opportunity they can to move up in the draft. Talk to the Hurricanes, talk to the Canadiens, talk to the Senators, talk to the Coyotes. They need to do anything they can and look at all possibilities. If the Rangers have a chance to take Andrei Svechnikov or Filip Zadina they must take their shot. Players like that don’t come around very often and getting one of them would be exactly what the Rangers need to start turning this thing around.

Looking ahead good trades and supporting free agent signings will be key as well. If a trade target presents itself, pull the trigger. That’s why you acquired all these assets. To use them in any way that can help the team moving forward.

This rebuild, this retool, whatever you want to call it needs to be thought out well, and it needs to be executed with perfect accuracy. Ovechkin had his moment this week and we all want Henrik Lundqvist to have his. It starts on June 22nd, 2018 when the New York Rangers select players in one of the deepest entry drafts in years who will hopefully become building blocks for a Stanley Cup contender. A silver lining here is that even if the next two season don’t go well, that gives the Rangers a chance at Jack Hughes next season and Alexis Lafreniere and Quinton Byfield the season after. Acquiring one of those guys… well let’s cross that bridge if we ever get to that point.

One last question to answer: Does this team have anyone with superstar potential in their system? That’s really hard to say. Filip Chytil might be the closest thing if he pans out the way we all hope but that’s not certain. Lias Andersson seems like he will be a great leader and two-way player someday but that’s not exactly superstar status. Brett Howden? Libor Hajek? Who knows. The Rangers have done a nice job building their asset group this past year but none of them may be the superstar this team so desperately needs.

The Carolina Hurricanes had a young dominant Eric Staal. The Anaheim Ducks have Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and had Temmu Selanne. The Detroit Red Wings had Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and the greatest Swedish-born defenseman of all-time in Nicklas Lidstrom. The Pittsburgh Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Chicago Blackhawks had Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The Boston Bruins have Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and had a budding superstar in Tyler Seguin. The Los Angeles Kings have Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. The Washington Capitals… well we know who they have. Now it’s time for the New York Rangers to get some superstar players of their own.

Get Henrik Lundqvist the Cup he deserves.

10 comments

  • Here’s the problem I have with a lot of Ranger fans, the belief ONE super star will get you a Stanley Cup. Look at the last 10 years, every team had MULTIPLE bona fide stars. This thought of having one isn’t viable. Why stop at one when you should gather as many great players as possible. Did the Oilers stop at Gretzky? No they went balls to the wall gathering elite talent. Did the Isles stop at Bossy? Every Ranger fan from that era could rattle of the names who sliced and diced the Rangers. The Blackhawks, Pens, Kings and even the Caps and Bruins had multiple guys to rely on.

    In 2010-12 the Rangers had one of the leagues best if not best sniper in Marion Gaborik. Well they decided to surround him with a bunch of 3rd and 4th line talent. THAT’S the problem with this team! The surrounding cast is devoid of any offensive skills. You bring up a lot of misses the Rangers had in recent drafts, I’m glad you brought up Lias Andersson. Look at who the Rangers passed on, Casey Middlestadt and Eeli Tolvanen. THE TOP 2 PROSPECTS in the NHL right now. Even Chytil has better offensive potential than the 7th overall pick. This is what’s holding this team back. They have over and over passed on better offensive players to take the ever popular “nice” player. The players who get the “coaches will love him” tab. They already missed on an elite player in Middlestadt and potentially one of the games best young pure scorers in Tolvanen. They cannot afford another gaffe like that. If the Rangers resign Hayes, Andersson is a 3rd line center for years to come. Only the Rangers spend a 7th overall pick on 3rd line players.

    Look at some who wanted guys like Oscar Lindbergh as the Rangers too center in 2016. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?? Lindbergh over Stepan or Zbibanijad? The Rangers and a big section of their fan base would rather draft a bunch of Jesper Fast’s than offensive dynamos. This is a mindset that has to be corrected, as good as Fast fits on this team he will never be the reason why this team wins a Cup without elevating the team’s offensive skill set. Jeff Gorton NEEDS to hit on these upcoming 1st round picks. This team cannot afford to let 2 of the games top prospects to slip by once again. The Rangers need to change their mindset of getting ONE guy and surrounding him with bottom level talent and expecting one guy to carry this team. They need to go out via the draft, free agency -‘d trades and get a bunch of highly skilled offensive players. Christ the Pens had Phil Kessel play on their 3rd line during their recent Cup run. The 3rd line! Name me on player the Rangers had on their top line that can score anywhere on the ice in the last 10 years not named Marion Gaborik? There isn’t one. Forget about 1 bona fide star and start collecting players who have a shoot 1st mentality, demand the puck during crunch time and can score at will. This current way the Rangers make up their roster has been proven to not work. Start collecting players up and down the lineup who will provide the Rangers with offensive power. That’s when the Rangers will become legitimate contenders for MULTIPLE years instead of the one Cinderella run every 15-20 years.

  • Steve Robillard

    Well Mike. I don’t disagree with you often, but in this case, I’m going to have to mention that the Golden Knights didn’t have a bonafide top line they just went at you with 4 lines of steady pressure a good goalie and solid defense. In my opinion the reason that Vegas lost was a weak power play and bad bounces. Just like the Rangers run in 2014. We didn’t have a bunch of high priced stars, we had puck pressure and 4 solid lines. We just lost to an equally strong team that got some bounces. Hell even a guy like Martinek on the Kings scored on Hank to clinch it. We didn’t adjust to their system and we plainly got out classed, much like the Capitals did to Vegas. I agree that scoring is important, but their power play was the difference maker and once Vegas got down they didn’t adjust and get the breaks like the Capitals did. No one predicted that the Golden Knights were going to be that good to make it to the finals. I believe that the Rangers aren’t that far away from being a contender again. We need to stop signing ridiculous contracts like the Staal, Smith, Lundqvist, Nash and Girardi deals that strap the team for years with no trade clauses. Hayes has no place on this roster unless it’s a 3 year 3 million per year 3rd or 4th line winger. Stop trying to make him better than what he is and driving his stock up and making his contact ridiculous like the rest of the bums. We trade our talent like Stepan, Hagelin, Miller, and Mac away because they didn’t sign no trade clauses. We still have Zucc, Kreider, Shatty and surprisingly good youth to contend. They’re not far away from competing.

    • You are 100% correct nobody predicted Vegas to be as good as they were. However Vegas wasn’t a typical expansion team either where they would be vying for a lottery pick. Look at previous expansion drafts and the lack of talent those teams had to choose from. When San Jose entered the league players like Anders Herberg who retired in 1985 and Bob Froese who retired at the end of the previous season. They were able to select a top notch starting goalie in Fluery, a former 40 goal scorer in James Neal, a former 30 goal scorer in Marchessault and former 28 goal scorer in Perron. This was also a group of players who were all left exposed by their previous team and came in with a chip on all of their shoulders to prove the hockey world wrong. The Rangers do not have that type of attitude nor do they have the talent as the Knights did. The Knights were able to put a roster out there that was able to intimidate teams with their speed, size, transition and scoring. They had a tremendous home ice advantage with their crowd, how many times could you hear a pin drop at MSG. And I’m talking about the playoffs and not last season?

      Dallas, Calgary like another poster brought up are exactly like the Rangers. 2 good players surrounded by 4th line talent.

      The Rangers need to hit on all the 1st round picks and can’t afford to pass on any more elite players. I do agree that the bad contracts they have out to players have crippled their progress. They can’t afford to pay Marc Staal his contract to sit in the press box so a younger player can play his minutes. No general manager will pay a player 5+ million to not play. This will handicap them for years. Guys like Hagelin were traded bacause he was looking for 4 million plus, to be a 3rd line player. That’s not cost effective at all. He did use his speed to get a thousand chances a game to only shoot in into the goalie’s logo. The Rangers haven’t missed him nor has he lived up to his contract. Step was dealt because he has a no trade claus coming up. McD was dealt because guys like Staal, Girardi and Shattenkirk who are inferior to him yet were payed way more than him.

      Kreider could be one of the best power forwards in the league and someone to be a core player IF he could learn to play up to his potential every game. Zucc is a player that’s going to be moved at the draft most likely and Shattenkirk is a overrated player who is a major defensive liability. The Rangers are nowhere near contending for the Cup. Tampa will have nearly the same roster, Toronto is getting better with each year, Pitt will load up again, Wash even with a Cup hangover has vastly more talent with or without John Carlson next year, Boston is a much better team than the Rangers, and New Jersey is improving and Taylor Hall is light years better than any Ranger. The Flyers, Islanders and Hurricanes are all in the same boat as the Rangers and none of them would be considered a contender at all.

      Forget about the Cup and restart by drafting young offensive players to build a future around. Stop drafting nice players and get players with a killer instinct. They addressed their future defensive needs through the trades last year. It’s imperative to address the offense now, no more bottom six talent!

  • No one player is bigger than the team, and this includes Hank. If Hank wants a Cup, then he should go to management and waive his NTC. Then, just like Ray Bourque, he can be moved to a team that has a legit chance.
    JG should NOT sacrifice the rebuilding this team desperately needs just for the sake of Hank or anyone else. That can we kept kicking down the road, for “one more shot” is full of concrete.

    • Christopher Fabulich

      I completely concur. We should have kept Raanta or Talbot for now. We also have those two commy goaltenders in the wind to.

  • Calgary has Gudreau and Monahan, Dallas has Seguin and Benn yet missed the playoffs while Vegas has no real stars and made the finals. Yes you need star players to succeed but there’s no real formula that guarantees unless you tank to get certain generational players Kane, Crosby, Ovechkin who have won 6 of the last 9 Cups.Do the Rangers push out everyone and go complete youth in pursuit of Jack Hughes? That’s worked for other teams maybe it’s time to think that way. There’s a Market for Zucc, Hayes, Kreider etc might be time to move then out and embrace the tank so we can finally get that superstar player we need.

  • Jerry is SPOT ON! The good times of every aging vet going to the NYR so they can live the fat life is done.
    IF Hank really wants a cup he does the selfish thing every other athlete with a big contract does … asks/demands to be traded!
    Who in NYR la-la land thinks without ransoming the next 5-8 years of prospects and picks really thinks they can win the Cup?
    It’s baby step time … and we’re crawling right now. After this summer … maybe we can see the light!

  • You can’t win the Cup in the cap era when your goalie is the highest paid player on your team making over 8 mil/year. Lunqvist had his shot to win Cup against the Kings and outside of one game in the finals he did not stand on his head and win the series. He’s a great goalie and a looks like a good guy, but the Rangers don’t owe him anything other than the 8mil/year they agreed to pay him. Maybe The King can restructure his contract to lower his cap hit the next few years. It’s crippled the team the past several years.

    • Stu I’m not sure if players can restructure their contracts like they can in some other sports. If they can The the Ranger’s front office is even more delusional by not restructuring Staal’s and Girardi’s contract. I think once it’s signed the team is obligated to pay the contract as is unless the player retires or is bought out.

  • The Rangers have always passed up or traded the “great” players or let them slip through their fingers. When they get a superstar scorer (like Kovalchuck, Nash or Gaborik) they either trade them for garbage or like Nash, turn them into garbage.

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