The Rangers need more skill. During a promising season that potentially could conclude with Lord Stanley’s mug, the Rangers greatest need is becoming more apparent the deeper we go in to the season. More specifically, they need established skill.
With the likes of Chris Kreider coming – likely coming sooner rather than later – there is certainly skill on the horizon, but this Ranger team is ahead of its development curve and how much can you realistically expect from the likes of Kreider, Miller and perhaps Thomas in the short term? To become a legitimate contender beyond this season they could do with some additional help.
Essentially, the Rangers win games because they absolutely refuse to give in, are not an ‘easy out’ and have the best goalie in the world, complimented by a deep and varied defense. They have a forward corps that is difficult to play against, deep and blessed with some skill. But they need more.
The Devils, at least for this season, boast a back-to-form Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and an evergreen Patrick Elias as an impressive skilled forward trio that is complimented by players such as Dave Clarkson. The difference between this trio and the Rangers best three is the presence of more pure skill and it’s simply further down the line that what the Rangers can currently offer.
Elsewhere in the East the Capitals (I promise you this: they won’t be this bad next season) have the likes of Ovechkin, Green and Backstrom. The Penguins have Crosby, Malkin, Neal and Letang (oh the joy of drafting so high, so often). While it’s unrealistic and unfair to expect the Rangers to get this kind of skill without lottery picks, they could stand to add more in the summer.
Recently the Rangers have been outshot, controlled by their opponents and outmatched offensively. They’ve needed to scramble around to stay in games (and shifts) and have ceded far too much possession than is sustainable long term – especially in the playoffs.
The Rangers window of opportunity appears to be opening sooner than expected and as such they should look to help themselves over the summer. This isn’t about throwing James Dolan’s cheque book at another soon to be former Devil. This is about complimenting what is already on the roster (which is a lot) and making some smart decisions over the summer.