New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

The New York Rangers have made some careful moves this off season. With the signings of Hayes, Kreider, and Zibanejad, where do they stand?

Today we are going to address the big question that surrounds the New York Rangers.

Where does the team stand as of today?

And before you start talking about the defense, lack of a power forward, and all of the other tired arguments which we all have been addressing lately, I’m going to pose a question to you.

Where would the Rangers stand if they had a offensive-minded, puck moving forward like Kevin Shattenkirk?

Let’s visit la-la land today.

If the Rangers this type of defenseman, similar to the departed Keith Yandle, would the dim future of this team seem a bit brighter?

We’re going to come back to this in a moment.

While the New York Rangers haven’t exactly made a blockbuster deal this summer, they certainly have been busy.

The recent signings of Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes were the latest moves that secured all of the big-name restricted free agents.

Just to review, here are the Kreider and Hayes deals.

Hayes basically has one year to prove himself, and if his play continues to be mediocre I would be willing to bet that he will be dealt at the trade deadline.

Kreider also needs to take that “next step” this coming season. While 43 points (21 goals/22 assists) were OK, they didn’t meet the expectations which fans, and I’m sure the organization, are hoping that he will meet.

Kreider isn’t the only forward who will need to up his game in 2016-17. The Rangers will need every forward to contribute next season, especially if they take to the ice with their current lineup.

That of course, includes Rick Nash. But we have already discussed that.

Why Moving Rick Nash Would Now Be A Mistake

The additions of Pavel Buchnevich, Nathan Gerbe, Michael Grabner, Robin Kovacs, and Mika Zibanejad all look like decent moves on paper, but theory and reality are often two very different things, especially in Rangerstown.

As of right now, the Rangers will need everything to go perfectly if they are to be a threat next season, but you didn’t need me to tell you that. 

So many questions and not many answers.

Will Alain Vigneault skate his best lineup (and not Tanner Glass)? Will the players stay healthy (this is the big one)? How will Buchnevich adjust to the North American game? 

It goes on and on.

And then there’s the defensive issue. Losing Dan Boyle is addition by subtraction defensively, but many forget that he tallied 10 goals and 14 assists last season.

That’s not something to scoff at. 

Especially once you add the loss of Yandle’s 42 assists, you start to realize that a large chunk of production needs to be replaced on the blue line.

Unless Ryan McDonagh has a comeback season in 2016-17, he will most likely go down as an elite player that was just good once he was given the Rangers’ captaincy.

OK, so now it’s time to visit la-la land. What the Rangers’ outlook change if they were able to acquire a player like Kevin Shattenkirk

Here are his stats for the past three years.

Kevin Shattenkirk NHL Statistics Hockey Reference.com
Courtesy of Hockeyreference.com

Shattenkirk’s stats are a nice blend of both Yandle and Boyle’s production.

But with only about 4.3 million in cap space left, could the Rangers even sign a player like Shattenkirk?

And who would they give up to acquire such a player?

Before you say Rick Nash, I’m going to go ahead and say that such a trade would make no sense for the Rangers. Sure, they would be adding some much-needed skill to their blue line, but there is no way that the St. Louis Blues would take on his contract.

Even if the Blueshirts were able to make this trade, or something similar work, how would the Rangers afford Shattenkirk at the end of the season (when his contract is up). 

So then the Rangers would basically be “going for it” once again with a rental defenseman (Yandle) that they wouldn’t be able to afford in 2017-18.

What the Rangers would lose in this deal would hurt them in the long-term (again). 

A player like Kyle Quincey, formerly of the Detroit Red Wings, may be a better option if he is willing to take a pay cut.

Quincey played in only 47 games last season as a result of bone chips (had surgery to remove them), and tallied 11 points in that span (4 goals and 7 assists). 

A player like Quincey would not be a Keith Yandle or Kevin Shattenkirk, but he could be another player to occasionally produce on the score sheet, similar to Kevin Klein.

When you add up all of the aforementioned elements, you’ll find that the Rangers are in a very fragile situation. Depending on who does or does not show up next season, the Rangers could either be a very good team, or just mediocre.

But hey, when you have Henrik Lundqvist on your team, there’s always a chance.

NEXT: Legend Brian Leetch Writes Letter About The Great One

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