|(New York Rangers)|
But unlike Rex, I can say that I'm really excited about the upcoming season and that I am praying with everything that I have that there isn't any kind of labor stoppage. I'm not going to guarantee that the Rangers will win the Stanley Cup, but I will say that for the first time in almost 20 years that they should be considered one of the top contenders.
Yes there's a long road ahead but we can dream about next spring, we have earned the right to entertain the thoughts of a championship run. I'm not going to sit here and say that 29 other teams are going to simply roll over and let the Rangers win the cup.
But I can sit here and say that I like what I see so far from the roster. The week started with the news of the Rick Nash trade and it looks like it's going to end with the positive reports of Michael Sauer's health progress.
As much as the addition of Rick Nash helps improve the Rangers chances; a healthy Michael Sauer makes an already good defense that much stronger. The reports say that Sauer is making serious progress and could possibly report for training camp on time.
Michael Sauer gives the Rangers the luxury of three strong defensive pairs and it gives John Tortorella options on how to use the blue line corps. The best option has to be being able to spread the minutes out evenly so everybody remains fresh.
Signing Anton Stralman to a two-year contract with a very friendly $1.7 million annual cap hit helps as much off the ice as it does on the ice. Anton Stralman, even if he's used in the third pair will be buying the Rangers time to develop their kiddie defensive prospects.
With Michael Del Zotto as the last player that the Rangers need to address; the Rangers can give Del Zotto the exact same contract that they gave Stralman and still have close to $10 million in open salary cap.
I know that many a Ranger fan would like to see the Rangers signed either Shane Doan or Jason Arnott, but not me. I would rather see the Rangers give one of their kids a chance to earn a job in training camp then add any more players who are over 35.
If the kids don't make it then you still have the available salary cap room to make trades during the season that normally the Rangers have not been able to afford. This would be the first year since the salary cap was started that the Rangers have not already spent to the limit.
I for one don't have a problem starting the season with what they have right now and waiting to see which teams fall out of the playoff race early. Given the choice of Glen Sather making trades or signing free agents, please, pretty please give me a Glen Sather trade any day.
When I look at the rest of the Eastern Conference then I am not afraid of any other team in the conference. It's more than adding Rick Nash to the roster as you're also adding Chris Kreider and starting the season with Carl Hagelin.
No offense to Brandon Dubinsky or any of the departed players but even with Gaborik out injured; this is a much more potent attack than you had last year to start the season.
So forgive me if I want to dream that tomorrow is September 21st and the New York Rangers are reporting to training camp. It's been way too long since Ranger fans have had a real reason to be excited about what was ahead.
Let me dream today about tomorrow as I've been waiting for this moment for too long a time.