The Rangers improved their roster this off-season. They added players for the future (Tim Erixon) and players very much for the now (Brad Richards) and the future, of course. However despite possessing a young roster, plenty of organisational prospects to look forward to, and some legitimate elite skill, do the Rangers have enough to compete consistently with the Pens, Capitals and Tampa? All three teams have elite skill and cornerstone players for the foreseeable future and figure to be contender’s long term.
The Rangers do possess their own trump cards. The Rangers out match all three clubs in net, as Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t need to look up to any goaltender in the league, certainly not in the East anyway. The Rangers also figure to have the deepest set of defenders of all these teams , both now and long term; if you are of an optimistic nature. However, despite a blue collar, pretty skilful set of young forwards, do the Rangers possess enough pure skill to go to toe to toe with the above trio? Acquiring Brad Richards to go with Marian Gaborik; is that enough long term?
Naturally a lot of this post can’t be answered right now. No one knows how Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov will develop or how the likes of Kreider and Thomas will cope when they eventually get to the NHL. However it’s fair to say none of the above equal the triumvirate of Crosby/Malkin/Staal or can match the trio of Stamkos/St Louis/Hedman. Nor do the young Rangers match up to Ovechkin, Green and Backstrom. These clubs also own quality young players like the Rangers do with Callahan, Staal or Dubinsky but these clubs have more elite, all star talent than the Rangers.
This post isn’t directly about Zach Parise, we’ve gone there recently, but he is relevant once again. Do the Rangers need to go out and add more elite skill next summer or do you think depth can outduel top end skill? It might seem a bit soon to question the Rangers ability to contend with the current crop and personally, I am very high when it comes to the Rangers future, but you can be rest assured Sather and management will be looking beyond this coming season as well.
The Rangers are blessed with a quality young roster thanks to patience, good drafting and some savvy signings. Whether they have enough skill to go deep and win a Cup – the ultimate goal, well we’ll find out over the next season or two. It might mean Sather going after a serious investment (or not) next summer.