Originally written July 17, 2012 on Blue Seat Blogs:
2009-nhl-entry-draft
The Rangers were eliminated in the Eastern conference finals against the Devils for a few reasons. Most fans question the lack of goal scoring and high end skill and rightly so. The fact that the Rangers still haven’t gone out and addressed this frustrates many, even though Glen Sather has been right to not over react. Then there is the theory that the Rangers may have run out of gas, with two gruelling series against the Senators and Capitals taking a lot out of the young, hard working team. Finally though, was the fact that the Devils’ depth out produced the Rangers equivalent. This however, is an area that Sather has begun to address and is a reason why a lot of Rangers fans should calm down and not panic about the apparent lack of offseason progress. Forget for a moment the uncertain future regarding next season and the CBA discussions. Assume that the Rangers start the season on time with the current assembled roster. It has improved. As the Rangers added Taylor Pyatt, Jeff Halpern and Arron Asham, most fans were left underwhelmed and frustrated that the new signings names didn’t begin with Zach or Bobby. Sather still did well. Through the trio of aforementioned signings the Rangers got deeper, kept a physical edge, got bigger and even improved the bottom of the line up offensively. They got better at face offs and added a pretty big dose of experience without blocking the paths of the young prospects. That’s pretty efficient manoeuvring by Sather if you ask me, especially when you consider none of them were given overpriced, excessively long contracts. The Rangers basically added an entire bottom line. They addressed needs with all three additions. Jeff Halpern adds tremendous face off ability that is a serious Achilles heel of the Rangers. He comes to New York at little cost, with little risk attached. He is one of the league’s best faceoff guys and should help. Taylor Pyatt comes to New York off the back of a decent post season run with Phoenix, brings size and an ability to score off the lower lines. Given a bigger opportunity he has the talent to score twenty goals – where was that kind of bottom six production/offensive potential last year? Pyatt has been a regular 10-15 goal scorer everywhere he has played. Then there is Arron Asham. He knows the Atlantic division inside out; he adds a tough element thought lost when Brandon Prust chased those over generous Canadian dollars while Asham is just as offensively ‘able’ as Prust was when looking at his career to date. The Rangers still need to add some top end skill, especially with Gaborik likely to miss playing time. However, with a certain Vezina trophy winner in net, a strong defensive unit in front of him and plenty of young talent up front, the Rangers got better this off season when they added their trio of unheralded free agents.
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