This summer the Rangers can afford to be aggressive – and risk a swing-and-a-miss mistake – this off season as they search to go one round further next season than this time around. There’s one caveat however (isn’t there always?) and that’s the pending CBA fallout.
The Rangers are not far from being a Cup team. The core is there, the youth is plentiful and in place while the experience of the playoffs and the associated heartbreak of failure (an apparent prerequisite for future success) has been acquired. The organisation has depth at its disposal in almost every regard and if the cap doesn’t come down when the dust settles then there is money to spend as Larry Brooks discussed recently. This is where Glen Sather and the decision makers have the opportunity to be aggressive as they look to build.
The Rangers will pursue scoring this summer, (apparently) they will look at Justin Schultz to add talent to the back end and they may even sniff around Ryan Suter. Sather can afford to take on a financial risk because of the available cap space, depth and youth on the roster. He can afford to be the highest bidder in any potential Parise sweepstakes or acquire an inconvenient contract if it means more scoring.
The Rangers are poised to have a relatively rare opportunity to go hard at a cup next season when you consider this year’s progression and the likelihood of Sather upgrading the roster. It’s the right time for Sather to go after the cup. The club has been built the right way for the best part of a decade and have arrived at an opportunity that unlike the dark, late nineties era perhaps demands money be spent.
Is bold best? The Rangers current situation is an instance where it possibly is. Gary Bettman has his parity stricken league where clubs like the financially insecure Coyotes can enjoy success and where the Kings can limp into the post season only to tear it up once they arrive there. With a hard cap in place careful decisions need to be made while a club builds in the hope of competing for the Stanley Cup.
If Sather thinks he can add a *gasp* PAIR of studs like Suter and Parise (unthinkable?) then maybe he should try and do it. He’s a master of a trade so it’s not unthinkable that he can make room for two. That kind of aggressive spending spree would make the Rangers a monster to deal with next year and a sure fire cup favourite. When you have gone down the route the Rangers have over the past decade you can afford to make a move and deal with the outcomes later. This team and the 1997-2003 era aren’t even comparable.
Let’s just say Parise or Suter don’t pan out. You think they would be unmoveable? Or the Rangers wouldn’t have assets elsewhere (and veteran savvy in Sather) to get out of a cap pickle? Please note: Gomez, Scott and Redden, Wade. The Devils beat the Rangers in part because of their higher end skill. Now is no time for resting on laurels or for pat on backs for a job well done. Now is a likely a time for aggressive means. Aggressive; not at the cost of the entire franchise future but through calculated risk and proactive means. The Rangers have earned the right to be bold and a Stanley Cup could be the reward.