With one day of free agency down, I figured I would take a look at the lines for next season based on the players that the Rangers have now. (It appears Blueshirt Bulletin did this as well, so you can check out Dubi's take.) I'm not big on numbers, but as near as I can figure there is about seven, eight million dollars left under the salary cap so maybe there is more help on the way ... there certainly had better be.
Nigel Dawes - Scott Gomez - Petr Prucha
Lauri Korpikoski - Chris Drury - Ryan Callahan
Aaron Voros - Brandon Dubinsky - Freddie Sjostrom
Patrick Rissmiller - Blair Betts - Colton Orr/Ryan Hollweg
Wade Redden - Michal Roszival
Dan Girardi - Fedor Tyutin
Marc Staal - Christian Backman
Mind you, this is purely based on the first day of free agency but somehow, to me, that doesn't look like a team that will win the Stanley Cup. Hell, that barely looks like a team that will make the playoffs. Tensions ran high all year as the Rangers struggled to score goals, and it looks like next season will be no different. The Rangers didn't have many wingers that could score and now they have even less. The Rangers didn't have a defenseman capable of clearing the crease, and they still don't.
The Islanders got better by adding a low-cost, puck-moving defenseman in Mark Streit and the Devils certainly improved by signing Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik while retaining Jay Pandolfo. The Rangers have appeared to let go of their heart as well as their top scorer, doomed their top prospect to less ice time and locked up over $11 million in two defensemen who had troubles in their own zones last season.
For all of that ranting, the Rangers still did more to improve their team than both the Flyers and the Penguins so there is some solace in that. Also, it is possible that Rozy and Redden could bounce back from their recent disappointing play but more often than not, players who just got cushy contracts aren't quite motivated. We will just have to wait until October to see ...