Join TSN in a 30 teams in 30 days tour of the NHL in preparation for the upcoming season. Teams will be unveiled in reverse order of the pre-season TSN.ca Power Rankings, and the New York Rangers are up next. Get the lowdown on their off-season and the issues they face this season. Use the Your Call feature to give us your take on the Rangers!
New York Rangers
2009-10: 38-33-11 (9th in East, missed the playoffs)
General Manager: Glen Sather (11th Season)
Head Coach: John Tortorella (3rd Season)
What they did in the off-season:
While the team did some patching of the roster, there were no big, bold moves made in the off-season. General manager Glen Sather found someone to alleviate some of the burden on top goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who seemed to wear down a little while playing a career-high 73 games without a reliable backup in tow. Veteran netminder Martin Biron, who has over 208 NHL victories in his career, was signed to offer Lundqvist some relief. The Rangers might now have one of the most consistent goaltending tandems in the NHL.
The Rangers added some toughness however at a very high price by signing Derek Boogaard to a four-year contract. Over his 255-game career, this 6-foot-8 left wing who weighs in at 257-pounds has 544 penalty minutes and has a presence that is among the league's most intimidating. New York made a few other changes on offense, getting rid of Olli Jokinen, Enver Lisin, Aaron Voros, Jody Shelley, Patrick Rissmiller and Donald Brashear and bringing in sometime sniper Alexander Frolov, veteran centre Todd White and underrated forward Tim Kennedy. Both Frolov and White have had prolific scoring seasons in the past while Kennedy appeared to be coming in to his own prior to his baffling buyout by the Sabres. In addition, Mats Zuccarello-Aason, of the Swedish Elite League, who impressed many with his play for Norway at the Olympics, will also compete for a roster spot.
Defensively, the Rangers acquired some depth, signing Steve Eminger from the Ducks. Sather also saved himself a major headache by getting restricted free agent Marc Staal's name on a new five-year contract.
Biggest issue facing the team:
Last season, this team simply did not score enough goals. The Rangers lit the lamp 222 times, which ranked 20th in the league. But more importantly, they relied far too heavily on one guy to get it done. Marian Gaborik shouldered much of the offensive burden last season, scoring 42 goals, or 18.9 per cent of the team scoring total. Considering Gaborik's injury history, it would be unwise of the Rangers to put too much faith in the Slovak making it through another season relatively unscathed. Already up against the Cap, the Rangers were unable to do much in the off-season to shore up this area other than sign the enigmatic Frolov who can look like a world beater one night and invisible the next.
The Rangers got left out in the cold in their battle for that final playoff spot in the East last season when they lost their final game in a shootout with the Flyers, who instead seized the eighth and final spot. The few moves they made this summer might prove enough to get the Rangers over the hump and back into the playoffs.
Player to watch:
Alex Frolov is coming off a disappointing 2009-10 season with the Los Angeles Kings, who decided that he was no longer worth the headaches. The talented Russian is a two-time 30 goal scorer and despite tallying 19 last year, he still finished with 51 points. If he's motivated to prove detractors wrong while playing on a one-year deal, this could prove to be Sather's best move this summer.