The Rangers were bulldozed by the Islanders this season. James Dolan must’ve got tired watching Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, and Casey Cizikas run all over his skilled collection of players. It can be said that losses to the Isles and the Tom Wilson incident was the final straw that broke Dolan’s back.
Rangers need to address grit issues on bottom six
Heading into next season, the Blueshirts must finally take the painful lessons they learned this year and fix the lineup. It’s time to get big, mean, and strong on the bottom six. Something that Chris Drury eluded to before yesterday’s game.
“We need to take a deep look at what everyone’s roles are,” Drury responded to a question of what his roster would look like next season. “We’ve got to get to a place where when you jump over the boards you know what your role is.”
The new President and GM clearly recognizes his current roster is one dimensional. A third line full of kids, loaded with skill, but lacking any grit. The fourth line was even worse, and it became a glaring issue when a frustrated Brendan Lemieux wanted out of town.
This off season it’s time to correct that.
Rangers offseason target: Jordan Martinook
Jordan Martinook with the Carolina Hurricanes is someone that fits the bill for me. He willl turn 29 in July but can play a high intensity style with an in-your-face attitude at 6-1 and 204 lbs. Martinook won’t come cheap as he’s coming off a deal paying $2 million, and looking for an increase. Another plus, Martinook can also take some draws.
This season, he has 13 points in 43 games. If that gives you pause, then you are also under the same illusion that some other fans have that every player on the roster should be a skill guy. Martinook does have skills however, they just better fit a third or fourth line role.
Martinook is ferocious forechecker. A physical player that refuses to back down. In 2018-19 he registered 199 hits to go along with 46 blocks playing in all 82 games for the Hurricanes. The guy is also vocal in the locker-room, beloved by his teammates, and wears a letter on his sweater too.
These are the type of players the Blueshirts need to add to the lineup to help compete in tough divisional action. Martinook should be on the Rangers radar this summer and over the course of the next few months I will present some more.
Where will John Tortorella Land Next?
John Tortorella will not be returning to coach the Columbus Blue Jackets next season. Sources confirmed to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic that last night was indeed his final game as the bench boss. Torts knew it too and so did the fans. READ MORE!