When Will The New York Rangers Window of Opportunity Shut?

For the past few seasons, the Rangers have been ripping my heart out, usually in the second round of the playoffs.  Many people in the hockey world have been saying that the New York Ranger’s window to win the Stanley Cup is closing.  The Rangers have been putting up 100 points every season and don’t seem to be slowing down. However, I do believe the Rangers cup window is closing, and I think from this year on, pretty soon the window is getting shut and the blinds will be closed.

 

I’ll give the Rangers front office a lot of credit. Although Jeff Gordon is my least favorite person ever, two years ago the Rangers were a very old team and looked like they were about to fall down on the ice.  I was ready to pull the plug and expected them to go into full rebuild mode. They did a great job of finding young talent and adding to the roster on the fly. Every trade or signing, for the most part, made sense. All while remaining a playoff team every year. They took a forward group full of veterans and turned it into a group that going into this season has just two players over the age of 30. They did the same thing with their defense, which has been highly criticized the past couple of years. After getting rid of Dan Girardi, Marc Staal is their oldest defenseman at 30 years old. This team has done a great job of getting younger and faster while still remaining a contender in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers have done a great job at adding young talent while remaining a playoff team, so why do I think their cup window is closing? Enter the king of New York. Goaltending is the reason New York is running out of time to win a Stanley Cup. Goaltending is also the reason the Rangers ever had any chance at the Stanley Cup. Henrik Lundqvist is 35 years old, and will not be an elite goaltender forever. Lundqvist stands on his head every game to keep the Rangers in the standings. When the offense doesn’t work, Hank does.  His contract runs for four more years. If the Rangers are going to win a cup, they have to do it with Lundqvist in net, and they are running out of time to do that.

 

I do not want to imagine the world without Henrik. I picture it being a very dark and scary place.  I think it is easier to just pretend that day is never going to come. New York does not seem to have much of plan for the post-Lundqvist era. They have Pavelec, who they traded for over the summer and they have some young goalies in the organization, but I don’t think any of them are even close to NHL ready, never mind Stanley Cup ready. The Rangers had Cam Talbot, but he went off to start in Edmonton, they had Antti Raanta, but he went to start in Arizona. I’m not saying we should have kept Talbot or Raanta over Lundqvist,  Henrik is one of the best goalies of this generation and you can’t let him go. But Talbot was the goalie we should have kept around for the day Hank hangs up his skates. Talbot had a .919 Sv% this past season in Edmonton. Hank is getting older and his run is going to end.  Once Lundqvist leaves New York’s cup window will officially be closed. They need to win in the next two seasons and after that, I don’t know what the future holds. Their offense is not good enough to win with just a good goaltender, they need a great one. Henrik Lundqvist is still great, but he won’t be around forever. The New York Rangers need to win now, or they just won’t.

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