New York Rangers

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Wes Goldstein's Take

With only modest success since the lockout, the Rangers have decided to make a change in direction this summer. It is a pretty significant one as well, because it brings down the curtain on the Jaromir Jagr era and returns the team to the days when it threw around big free agent money at veteran players who often seemed like their best days were behind them. In this case, it was defenseman Wade Redden and forward Markus Naslund, who each come with big price tags and even bigger questions marks. For that matter, so does Nikolai Zherdev, a supremely talented forward with attitude issues who came along with depth forward Dan Fritsche from Columbus for defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman. Those blue liners aren't likely to be missed because New York also signed free agent defenseman Dmitri Kalinin and brought back Michal Rozsival, but there a lot of new faces on Broadway and potential chemistry problems.

Much like the situation on the other side of the tunnel, it's all about goaltending here because Henrik Lundqvist has been a Vezina finalist in each of his first three seasons. How he goes will effectively determine the Rangers season, although look for veterans Scott Gomez and Chris Drury to provide more offensive creativity and in particular more leadership now that there are in their second season with the team. You have to think New York has the potential to score more with the arrival of Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev, especially because the defense is a lot more mobile now as a group and can move the puck effectively.

New York is not a particularly physical team overall, and it is most noticeable on the back end where the Rangers lack an intimidating crease-clearing type. Up front, the Rangers expect their top players will likely get their fair share of goals, but there is some real concern over where the secondary scoring will come from. The Rangers have done a pretty good job working young players developed from the system into the lineup, but they'll be asking several of them to take a more prominent role this season, and that could be a problem.

Like him or not, the Rangers were a much better team when Sean Avery was in the lineup and now they have to figure out how to win without him.

Burning Question

How will a chemistry 101 experiment play on Broadway? GM Glen Sather went back to the drawing board this summer, moving out Jaromir Jagr, Sean Avery, Martin Straka, Marek Malik and, as of now, Brendan Shahanan, while spending some pretty big dollars again on free agents like Markus Naslund and Wade Redden, veteran players who have each been in rebound mode for at least two seasons. There were a few trades thrown in as well, which means the Rangers will have at least a half dozen new faces and a lot less Czech spoken in the dressing room.

On the Hot Seat
Wade Redden, D
Redden has to prove his worth after getting one of the most lucrative and surprising free agent deals of the summer, despite two consecutive down years.
Save the Date
Nov. 19 vs. Vancouver
Naslund gets his first look at his old teammates.
View From the Stands
Lemur says:
"Unless someone emerges as a scoring threat, teams will tighten up on Gaborik and force other players to bury the puck. One thing I've heard about Gaborik is that he has a nack for getting behind the defense. I can only assume that they try pretty hard to keep him contained, but if he's as good as advertised, he can still score with all of that coverage. Again, only time will tell in terms of goal scoring with this team."
Join the discussion!
The Rangers lured free agent sniper Marian Gaborik to Broadway with a five-year, $37.5 million contract. (Getty Images)
2008-09 in Review
Record: 43-30-9 for 95 points
Finish: 7th in East, 4th in Atlantic; Lost Conf. Quarterfinals
Goals/Game: 2.44 (28th) Goals Against/Game: 2.58 (6th)
Power Play: 13.9% (29th) Penalty Kill: 87.8% (1st)
Fantasy Projections
CScott Gomez79134962640
LWMarkus Naslund82283361458
RWNikolai Zherdev79222951-842
CChris Drury80212849-435
LWNigel Dawes80222042320
30Henrik Lundqvist382442.21.9126
Complete Fantasy Projections
Generation Next
Artem Anisimov, C, 21
Anisimov had a breakout year during his sophomore season with the Wolf Pack. The two-way forward, who boasts strong stickhandling and faceoff skills finished fifth among all AHL points leaders and fourth among goal scorers. Assuming he does not falter in camp, Anisimov will center New York's third line. Hartford (AHL) - 80GP-37G-44A-81PTS
In the System
No. Player, Pos., Age 2008-09 Team, Stats
1 Bobby Sanguinetti, D, 21 Hartford (AHL); 78GP-6G-36A-42PTS
2 Michael Del Zotto, D, 19 London (OHL); 62GP-13G-50A-63PTS
3 Ryan McDonagh, D, 20 Wisconsin (WCHA); 36GP-5G-11A-16PTS
Expert Picks
No. Goldstein Brown Devonport Hurcomb Cercel
Complete expert picks
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