Thursday, June 19, 2014

N.Y. Rangers: In Need Of A Blue Line Bruiser


NEW YORK RANGERS - Let The Rath Of Dylan Begin!

Despite Rick Nash's scoring woes in the playoffs, a lack of goals was not necessarily the reason why the Rangers lost to the Kings.  Three overtime losses made it plainly obvious that the Blueshirts need a big defenseman who can clear traffic from in front of the net, and whom also possesses a big shot from the point on power plays.

On that note, Anton Stralman probably had the best shot from the point (by a NYR defenseman) this season but is in no way the answer.  I do believe however that he played well enough to warrant a reasonable contract offer from Sather.

And on that note, any additional potential free agent signing will obviously cost money - lots of money.  How does Sather clear the space needed to facilitate such a deal?  For starters, John Moore is no longer needed. I'd make Raphael Diaz go poof, and I'm on the fence with regards to Kevin Klein.

I'll get into what forwards I'd consider sacrificing shortly.

This year's free agency period is less than two weeks away.  Pittsburgh's Matt Niskanen is perhaps the most notable defenseman on the list.  He will no doubt cause a bidding frenzy, and inevitably command major salad.  But I'm not sure he's right for the Rangers.  He is listed at 6'0" and 209 lbs., which does not exactly distinguish him in a line-up with Girardi, Staal, and McDonagh.

Coming off a career high 46-point season, while still only 27-years old makes Niskanen very attractive.  Pair him with Ryan McDonagh, and the Rangers are set for years to come.  Niskanen certainly handles the puck better than Girardi did against L.A.  He would also be a welcome addition on the power play.  But he's not going to be the one clearing bodies from Henrik's space.

As it currently stands, import Justin Falk is the Rangers largest blue liner.  Will he see more time next season. At 6'5" and 215 lbs., perhaps he should, right?

The Rangers also have their proverbial ace prospect in the hole.  It's time to let the Rath Of Dylan begin!   Dylan McIlrath was the 10th overall selection of the 2010 draft, and should be ready to bang bodies in the NHL next season.  He is listed as 6'5" and 215 lbs.  His game is well suited for clearing traffic and maintaining lanes of sight for Lundqvist.

So with that in mind, I would give still Matt Niskanen serious consideration.

I also have interest in (LAK) Matt Greene.  And why not?  He's still only 31 years-old, and listed at 6'3" and 232 lbs.  That's the kind of size that moves bodies.  Realistically however, the Rangers can only sign him at their price and terms, not his.  I'll pass on (LAK) Willie Mitchell though.

Montreal's Andrei Markov is good, but like Mitchell he's getting old, and has become injury prone, so I do not consider him much of an option.  However, I think (NYI) Dan Boyle could be a good complimentary fit for the Rangers.

The Forward$$$ - Glen Sather needs to clear cap space, and will most likely start by buying out Brad Richards.  It's the right thing to do.  In the salary cap era, his contract is an albatross.  Unfortunately, Mats Zuccarello and Brian Boyle may have priced themselves out of town as well.  MatsZuccs?  Yeah, it's all about the salad.

What say you?


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