New York Rangers: Where Are All the Openings?

It seems that since before I was even born, the New York Rangers front office has been promising the same thing every summer, and that the “kids” would get a chance to play and make the team. Every summer we are told that an infusion of youth is coming, and instead of acquiring outside mercenaries, the homegrown talent will have a chance to showcase itself. Yet every summer, this does not happen; free agents are signed and the available spots that would have gone to youth shrink little by little.

This summer was no different. We heard it at the beginning from Glen Sather and even as the weeks pass by from others, that no one’s job is safe that the young players will have a chance to make the team. But where are the available spots they speak of?

The Rangers defense has room for an addition or two, especially when it is starting to look more and more bleak for Wade Redden, but on forward, there is absolutely nothing.

Rangers fans have been waiting two seasons to see their top offensive prospect, Evgeny Grachev, have a chance to play for the NHL club. Last year he was given a shot in training camp before being assigned to Hartford, where he never got another chance. He was going to have a spot in the top-six this season, until that is, Alex Frolov was signed. Mats Zucarello-Aasen was also brought in from Sweden, further diminishing an already small availability.

Dale Weise, another prospect, was called up towards the end of last season but was not dressed for action. He was going to have a spot on the fourth line this season, but then the Rangers re-signed Brandon Prust and gave what has the potential to be the worst contract of this year, to Derek Boogaard.

What does Prust bring that Weise does not? Weise would have not only been a cheaper option, still on an entry-level contract, but would have been another homegrown player with some spark and scoring ability, as he scored 28 goals for Hartford last season while racking up 114 penalty minutes. The most Prust has ever scored at any level was 19, in 2004 for the London Knights of the OHL.

Then there are other Rangers prospects Derek Stepan and Ethan Werek, among others, who also have a chance to make the team; a chance that may be smaller than winning the lottery and being struck by lightning on the same day.

Where are all these openings, I ask?

Who will be waived to make the room?

And when have the Rangers ever waived a veteran in favor of an unproven rookie?

The Rangers continuously promise this but fall short. The only players that the Rangers would move would be Brian Boyle and Sean Avery, but getting rid of Boyle does not free up a spot, and no team in their right mind would want Sean Avery, a player who now has no role on the team.

Just take off the blinders and realize he is a cancer who can exist nowhere else but New York City. I don’t know how it isn’t more obvious to fans that he is not liked, but I guess it’s all worth it for that five games of spark out of 82 that he brings every season.

The Hockey News released their standings picks today, and have the Rangers finishing in 13th in the Eastern Conference. I’ve been saying for the last few months that this team is a bottom-five finish, so for the first time in my life I agree with THN.

I want to see the Rangers succeed like everyone else, but with the pattern they have been in recently, I think we will have to keep on waiting.

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3 thoughts on “New York Rangers: Where Are All the Openings?

  1. Prust brought a lot more then just scoring last year and I believe they had to sign Frolov, just to have a chance for that 8th spot. Everyone that was signed this summer besides Boogaart – was signed to 1 – 2 year deal. And there are plenty of people that agree that young kids aren’t ready ( I mean Grachev is extremely talented but how many goals did he have last season in Hartford?). So it looks like the next season will be Makeover year.
    Then again, I have no more reason then you to trust this (mis)management and unless i see those changes myself next year and see Redden demoted this fall.
    P.S. Truly hope that Avery will stay with the team and do all that he can do. And he CAN do a lot….

  2. Jim Haggerty

    Greg,

    The summertime promises of the Rangers almost go back to before I was born. For the last 35 years the song has remained the same. When John Ferguson was brought in as GM there was a bit of a youth movement; that is the only one I can recall.

    The modus operandi for the Rangers is to overhype their prospects, then lose patience if a young player struggles. I like the way the Red Wings do things–they put their young players exclusively on 3rd and 4th lines and the 3rd defense pair and give them ample opportunity to acquire experience without undue pressure. Then after two or three years they are ready for more substantial roles.

    I like to think that someday prospects like Stepan, McDonagh, Wiese, Bourque, Grachev, etc. will become solid players but the track record is that most of them are being overhyped right now and will become marginal NHL players at best.

    That being said, the Rangers do have eight players on their roster who are 26 or younger, and they have been sprinkling one or two rookies into the lineup each season starting with Girardi and Callahan a few years back. But that is a concession to the salary cap; it seems every summer is the same, the Rangers go out and acquire fading veterans who take up roster space that could be filled by younger, hungrier players. As a result, they stay on the mediocrity track which prevents them from being in a position to draft blue-chip prospects. Then again their drafting record especially with high picks has been less than stellar. In 1999 they picked Pavel Brendl fourth and Jamie Lundmark ninth; Brendl never played in the NHL and Lundmark has been a marginal player at best who has played for five NHL teams.

  3. SteadyEddie

    Starting 3 rookies last season was not giving the youth a chance? “This summer was no different?” How about going out of their way to sign MZA, Stepan, and McDonagh? What about the push to get Valentenko out of Russia? Where are you getting that Grachev was “going to have a spot in the top-six this season?” Grachev played on lines with Hartford’s best players last season and did squat. Where are you getting that Weise “was going to have a spot on the fourth line this season?” Scoring 28 goals in the A does not guarantee anything in the NHL. “When have the Rangers ever waived a veteran in favor of an unproven rookie?” You forget Kasparaitis for Girardi. You either need to follow another team or study this one a little better. I’ll bet you’ve never heard the name Carl Hagelin amongst many others. This team has better prospects than it’s ever had, but you have no idea. Keep complaining.

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