That’s a wrap folks. The time has finally come for the New York Rangers. A time to look themselves in the mirror, face reality and possess an outlook towards the future and better days.
The Rangers Stanley Cup window, which was wide open in the recent past, is now all but completely slammed shut.
It took 54 years for “the curse” to finally be broken in 1994. Now it seems another curse is in effect as it has been almost 24 years since Sam Rosen’s famous line of “The waiting is over! The New York Rangers are the Stanley Cup Champions! And this one will last a life time!”
Perhaps Sam was right after all, maybe the ’94 championship will indeed last a lifetime….
We have had the pleasure of living through some magical moments with this franchise for the past decade. The 2014 Stanley Cup finals appearance, the multiple Conference Finals appearances and the many other unforgettable memories that made us fall more in love with this team. Sadly though, all of that is in the past. The reality is that none of the former great teams we have had were able to bring Lord Stanley back to Manhattan.
In response to the growingly restless fan base and recent trade rumors, the Rangers front office has put out a message to the fans stating that they are looking towards the future and warning that some beloved players may be sent packing.
A Message from Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton. pic.twitter.com/Q56CXS8vDc
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 8, 2018
No one in the National Hockey League is more deserving of a championship than Henrik Lundqvist. Nicknamed “The King” and rightfully so, he has single handedly carried this franchise on his back throughout his illustrious thirteen-year career. Although the team being riddled with injuries hasn’t helped their cause, Lundqvist has been the sole reason this team is even sniffing a wildcard spot in the Metro division.
However at this rate it’s continuing to look more likely that we will never be able to witness the future Hall of Famer hoisting the Stanley Cup above his head.
Pending unrestricted free agents Michael Grabner and Rick Nash will likely be dealt to teams looking to bolster their roster for a possible run at the Stanley Cup. The possible return for these two could and should be significant.
Based on past rental trades such as the Eric Staal to the Rangers trade two seasons ago, or Martin Hanzal to Minnesota last season, the value of Grabner and Nash on the market will undoubtedly be high. I would think if Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton plays his cards right, that the Rangers could acquire at least one first round pick (possibly more) and some highly touted prospects/solid NHL-ready youngsters if both Grabner and Nash are sent packing.
Captain Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello have been involved in trade rumors also. While losing two fan favorites may make many fans unhappy, it could wind up being the right move depending on what they get in return. A trade of Henrik Lundqvist cannot be ruled out but it is highly unlikely he would be dealt. In a recent interview with the New York Post he stated that he does not want to leave New York and is on board with whatever direction the team takes moving forward.
All in all I believe besides a select few (Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Brady Skjei) the whole Rangers roster is expendable.
Contrary to some beliefs, a total rebuild is not required for the organization because of the dynamic duo of promising first round picks Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson who are waiting in the wings. Don’t forget about the predicted Russian heir to Henrik Lundqvist, Igor Shestyorkin, who has been tearing it up during his time in the KHL.
As we continue to watch this season unfold it will be interesting to see what moves are made and where this team ultimately winds up in the standings. Mark your calendars for February 26th as that is the day of the trade deadline and the day where we will see what direction this franchise is moving towards.
One thing is clear and that is that the New York Rangers Stanley Cup window has officially been closed, for now at least. The question to whether or not that window will open back up anytime soon will most likely be determined in the coming weeks.
No matter what happens I will always bleed blue.