I hate July 1st because never has a day caused more problems than solutions for the Rangers than any other. This year is no different as when I see all the rumors about who the Rangers are supposedly targeting then I would rather be doing something else.
In a nutshell as a Ranger fan I want the Rangers to resign Jagr, resign Avery (to a sensible contract), fix the defense with actual defenseman who will play defense and THEN add a winger like a Vrbata or similar.
Please spare me Sundin, spare me Campbell and use that cap space to address needs and to continue the progress that the prospect pipeline has started. I did not want to hear what others where saying over the last 48 hours which is why this is all about me the Ranger fan.
When I look back at May 4th 2008 and see what I can take away from it then there is one message that comes at me quite clearly. GIVE THE KIDS A CHANCE TO DEVELOP and do not go back to the errors of the past where a player's name overruled whether or not it would be a good idea to sign him.
When I look at who was it that scored the goals in the Ranger's final game of the season then it fuels my own fire as the self-admitted defender of the prospects. Yes I will say that I am so very biased towards seeing the kids making it but when I see how a kid like Korpikoski can lead a comeback in his very first NHL game it says something.
When I see that it was Nigel Dawes who scored the tying goal in that game then again the message is clear, GIVE THE KIDS A CHANCE TO DEVELOP and do not sign a Sundin.
First give me a combination of a Brad Stuart, Ron Hainsey and Kurt Sauer to a defense that has a Staal, Girardi and Tyutin and can one say a defense as good as anyone's in the NHL? Priority number one after Jagr and Avery MUST be the defense as anything else will mean come training camp we all will be complaining about the leaks on the blue line.
My mantra for years has been "It is not how much you spend but how well you spend it" and I pray that just once the Rangers would not go for the home run and settle for the fundamental players.
Once you fix the defense then come talk to me about adding more offense up front because
I do see the Rangers are able to replace a Straka and Shanahan in the lineup with Dawes, Callahan, Prucha, and Korpikoski as these kids take steps forward in their development.
You do not need to try to replace Straka's and Shanahan's offense in one shot as those kids I just mentioned all are very able to score and if you can get 15 or more goals from them then you just scored 60 goals plus. I really honestly believe that if you give those kids ice time they will reward your faith.
For all his warts about his size how come Dawes finished with the best plus/minus on the team? How come when you look at the biggest of plays from the playoffs out of the Rangers that Callahan, Dawes, Dubinsky and Korpikoski were right there?
Stay the course and do not add the elderly like Sundin if you want to build a better tomorrow.
Switching back to the defensive side then you realize that the game is won by building from the goal outwards, step one is Henrik Lundqvist, step two is the defense and if we see another season with players like Christian Backman and Marek Malik then spare us the regular season and fast forward to another 2nd round playoff exit.
Yes the Rangers need a presence at the point but they have 2 of them already on the roster, the first is Marc Staal who the Rangers are building up his upper body this summer and the other again is my choice for PP QB until Sanguinetti is NHL ready in Nigel Dawes.
Nobody not Gomez, not Jagr is best suited to line up at the point and QB the Ranger power play. I watched Dawes for 3 years as the smallest player on the ice with Kootenay tear other teams apart with laser precision passing from the point.
Adding either a Brad Stuart or Ron Hainsey will help with the power play as both do not have a problem shooting from the point a skill that last season's Ranger defense did not like using.
But more than anything else I worry that when the gun goes off on the race to sign free agents that we see money spent unwisely by the Rangers. Please just once address team needs and give these kids a chance to develop.
Do that and come next May we just might be seriously talking about more than 2 playoff rounds.
Do not and as I said just skip the regular season and come May 4 2009 expect the Ranger season to end in a disappointing manner.
20 hours ago