Coming into this season, hopes and aspirations were running a bit hot and cold for the New York Rangers. It was the first offseason under new GM Al Harrison and the team was interested to see what the new GM would do to change the team. After a decent draft which saw the Rangers add Martin Erat, Craig Anderson & Derek MacKenzie in the first round and 2nd rounders Oleg Saprykin, Branko Radivojevic & followed by Pavel Brendl, Kris Beech & Konstantin Koltsov in the 3rd, the Rangers had added a lot of depth.
Then in ufa, the Rangers were able to land Martin Lapointe, a 25 year old winger who will fill a top 6 role on the Rangers for the foreseeable future. The team also added some grit and a fave of the GM's in dman Bryan Marchment. Also although there were a lot of rumours surrounding him, the Rangers held onto goaltender Mike Richter.
Lapointe has had a huge impact on the team, managing a point a game so far for the Blueshirts. He has been a -9 so far though and the club hopes he'll be able to pick up his defensive part of the game. Marchment has also been a steady influence on the d, managing 7 points in 19 games, but also is a -9. Late season addition Darryl Sydor, the key cog in the trade of Brian Leetch, has become the teams best defender and has also been adding in some scoring punch, having 8 points in 14 games which is just over a .5 a game average.
During the past season, the team has been rumoured to have been at least open to the idea of trading two of their best players in winger and team captain, Alex Kovalev and center and assistant captain, Sergei Fedorov. And although the team decided it was better suited to keep both, so far Kovie hasn't played up to his talent level. In 19 games the Russian sniper has only 4 goals and 6 assists, very underwhelming for a player in the final year of his contract. Line mate and country mate, Sergei Fedorov is also off to a very slow start, tallying 6 assists to go along with 4 goals. Both players have definitely not played up to their potential and rumours have it that the Rangers may indeed look to move one or both of them before the trade deadline. In other rumours, the team is said to be looking into possibly acquiring a winger to play along with the Russian twosome in hopes of adding someone might boost both players. Either way, something might be done this season.
In net, Mike Richter was given a show of confidence by the management team in the offseason when it was rumoured he was available but the team "felt it served us better" to hold onto the 32 year old and ride him for one more season. Although the team has shown faith in him, so far he hasn't responded or given the team the starter they were hoping for. In 12 games he has a bloated 3.79 gaa, horrendous .874 save percentage and has actually rode the pine for the last week and a bit in favour of backup Corey Hirsch. With a young goaltender being groomed on the farm and two future possible starters in the system (Antero Niittymaki & Craig Anderson), it may not be long before the Rangers decide to part ways and try and acquire some pieces in return for the veteran netminder.
One way or another, the Rangers will continue to try and grow and piece it all together.
New York Times
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