Have the New York Rangers improved enough to make the playoffs this season?

new york rangers
Feb 20, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreni┬Ćere (13) celebrates after scoring a goal on Washington Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek (41) in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When this past NHL’s regular-season concluded, the New York Rangers were in the midst of an organizational meltdown. Jeff Gorton and John Davidson were shown the door and David Quinn was relieved of his duties. CEO Jim Dolan promoted Chris Drury as President and General Manager and was fully in charge of this offseason’s transactions that would help mold the future of Rangerstown.

The yet to be answered question is have the Blueshirts done enough to be a playoff team come next April?

Looking at the Rangers additions and subtractions

Training camp is scheduled to begin in September and the New York Rangers have a roster filled with some new faces. Did GM Chris Drury do enough to vault the Blueshirts into the post-season for 2021-2022?

The Rangers will look dramatically different when the team steps onto the ice for opening night. Six players from last season have moved on whether by trade, draft, or free agency. In contrast, seven players were added.

Subtractions

  • Pavel Buchnevich
  • Colin Blackwell
  • Phil Di Giuseppe
  • Brett Howden
  • Brendan Smith
  • Tony DeAngelo

Additions

  • Barclay Goodrow
  • Sami Blais
  • Ryan Reaves
  • Gregg McKegg
  • Dryden Hunt
  • Jarred Tinordi
  • Patrik Nemeth

Analysis:

Chris Drury addressed the huge elephant in the room which was toughness. Acquiring Reaves was the club’s way to handle the situations like the Tom Wilson incident last season. Reaves can bring some offense to the game while giving some of the top boys a breather here and there.

He has appeared in 686 games with 101 points. He has 937 career penalty minutes, and that stat alone is what the club is looking for with this deal. Hard nose, take no crap hockey.

Goodrow, Blais, Tinordi, McKegg, and the others bring additional toughness, but none have the offensive prowess to put the puck in the net.

The subtraction of Pavel Buchnevich raised an eyebrow for many. Who is going to replace the 20 goals and 48 points he put up last season. The Rangers groomed Buch for five years and when he was becoming the player the team wanted, they moved him to St. Louis to conserve cap space.

And don’t think the trade of Brett Howden won’t hurt the team just because he didn’t produce a lot of points. He was a key penalty killer and one reason why the team ranked in the top ten last year.

Who will carry the load

nhl roundup adam fox
Mar 22, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) scores a second period goal against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the Rangers will rely heavily on Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, Artemi Panarin, and the other veterans that are the core of the Blueshirts.

Despite that, a lot will fall on the shoulders of these four players; Adam Fox, Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere.

The reigning Norris Trophy winner will enter a season loaded with expectations. Chytil, Kakko, and Lafreniere will need to have strong, consistent seasons if the Rangers have any thoughts of making the playoffs.

Is it Enough?

The Rangers have not improved enough offensively to get themselves into a playoff position this year. Well, at least not right now.

It is extremely hard to look at this roster, which on the offensive side has not made any major additions, and expect to see the club improve enough to make the postseason. They have not yet improved at the center position, and might have even dropped down a bit in the goal scoring area.

Drury may be sitting on a bigger deal that has yet to happen, Jack Eichel perhaps, but his failure to address the club’s issue at the face-off dots and replacing Buchnevich may hunt them throughout the year.

One trade can alter the direction the team is headed, but until the transaction is completed this hockey team is unlikely to see the playoffs at the end of the upcoming season.

This result would be unacceptable after all the organization has gone through. Between a full rebuild, multiple high first-round selections, a new president and gm, new head coach this fanbase may no longer be patient. The same can be said for its owner.

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