Friday, January 26, 2018

Rangers On the Edge of the Abyss

It's time, All-Star break weekend, 50 games played, 32 remaining in the 2017-18 season, will this team get patched up, or blown up?

Standings: Ranges outside of Wild Card at All-Star Break
Rangers outside of Playoffs after 50 games

Last night's 6-5 victory over the San Jose Sharks keeps the NY Rangers in the Wild Card hunt, but only by a thread. Another 3 game losing streak like they had out West against the Avs, Kings, and Ducks, and this team will certainly get blown up. The demolition will begin with the three unrestricted free agents: Nash, Grabner, and Holden. Where it ends is anyone's guess.

The consensus out there in Rangerland looks like it's a go for the demolition to begin.

Justin / BlueSeatBlog:
Tear it down --
In the spirit of “hate week” as Dave has coined it, it’s time to burn it down. If the organization wants to get Lundqvist that elusive Cup, it needs to take decisive action to give the organization a complete overhaul and recognize this for the lost season it is. I don’t think there is any way around it. This team is going nowhere... The Coaching Staff - Lay waste to it...
Sam Prevot / Blue Line Station:
New York Rangers: Why missing the playoffs isn’t a bad thing  --
"Missing the playoffs could be a blessing in disguise for the New York Rangers. It is now time to start looking at the future of the team when it comes to prospects and the 2018 NHL Draft..."
Shayna Goldman / Blueshirt Banter:
Banter Roundtable: 2018 Trade Deadline --
"The first question was whether we believe the Rangers should be buyers or sellers; we unanimously agreed that the Rangers should be sellers. The fact is, this team is flawed in almost every way – except for in net, and their stellar goaltending masks most of their deficiencies..."
However, a few are still holding out hope for a resurrection. Sean McCaffrey over at the Blue Collar Blueshirts, before the West Coast losing streak said:
"Ranger fans, don’t give up on this team yet. Don’t buy the “RANGERS MUST SELL” shit. The field is wide open this year and with the way your boy Henrik Lundqvist is playing, why would you wave the white flag..."
That's a little ironic, given Sean's frequent Lundqvist bashing, but he makes an excellent point about the field being wide open for any team that gets hot going into the playoffs. That team could be the Rangers.

Don La Greca, the back up Rangers play by play guy, and Michael Kay Show co-host underscores that point:
I just don't know what you're gonna get for Rick Nash, when you have Evander Kane out there, who's a little bit younger. Who Buffalo is going to trade for players. It's a tough spot... If this team is within 2 points of a playoff spot (on Feb. 26th), don't you have to, kind of, try and make it in this sport of all sports. It's a wide open Eastern conference, right.... I'm all for rebuilding, but unless you are going to get a Herschel Walker type of deal for some of these guys, I think I want to try and see what I can do in the playoffs.
So what's a GM to do?  The trade deadline is February 26th, exactly a month away. We say: wait and see. If these players want to have a last hurrah, they should go and get it.

Our guess is the decision will be made by February 17th, when the Blueshirts complete a 4 game road trip in Ottawa. That road trip probably decides the fate of this team and this season (2/11 at Winnipeg, 2/13 at Minnesota, 2/15 at the Islanders, 2/17 at Ottawa). They must go at least 2-2 on that trip. If you can't win on the road, how are you going to win in the playoffs? Of course, the 5 games before that road trip could tip the balance, but the Rangers play on that road trip should be the decider.

Update:

Larry Brooks is now saying that Rangers management is going to blow it all up.

There is no ambivalence within management. The Blueshirts, we’re told on good authority, view the Feb. 26 trade deadline as a unique opportunity to refresh the roster and replenish the organization, regardless of where the club stands in relation to a playoff spot.

The mandate, approved (if not established) in the owner’s suite by Jim Dolan, is to build a Stanley Cup winner rather than to simply extend a seven-year playoff streak that is in jeopardy...
-----
ICINGS:


Rangers standing on the edge of the abyss