Sunday, May 04, 2008

What's Next For The Rangers

Things looked good for the Rangers after the first round victory over the Devils, but they were outmatched in the second round by the Penguins. There's some questions up in the air for the Rangers, but most of the key answers are in place.

The pressing question will be what will Jaromir Jagr do?? There have been rumors abound that Jagr will be playing for Avangard Omsk in Russia next season. However, the passion that Jagr played with in the playoffs shows that he could come back for one more kick in the can with the Rangers. Jagr is quiet the specimen. When he's having fun, he's the best player in the world. When he's uptight and being child-like, he's his own worst enemy. Depending on what Jagr shows up will depend on the investment that the Rangers may want to put into him.

Along with Jagr hitting the UFA market, so will Sean Avery, Martin Straka, and Brendan Shanahan. Avery has said he would want to return to the Rangers, but the Rangers have played hardball in the past. Straka will probably want to stay, as would Shanahan. Of course, everything can change in a New York minute, especially when it comes to the direction the Rangers brass may want to go in.

That's just the forwards.

Paul Mara, Marek Malik, and Michal Rozsival are all UFAs on the defensive side of things. Malik and Rozsival are most likely to be re-signed to help out with Marc Staal, Fedor Tyutin, and Christian Backman.

Luckily, three key cogs have been rapped up for the next few years in Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, and Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist was amazing this past season, getting himself a Vezina Trophy bid for it. Gomez and Drury played well in their first season in Broadway, but there is plenty of room for improvement.

One great surprise was the play of Brandon Dubinsky and Nigel Dawes. Both played key checking roles and showed they can provide on the scoresheet as well.

As a whole, the Rangers may need to increase they scoring, as they only had 213 goals for this season, but could do a whole lot more. It seemed that the defense and goaltending was in shape, so the concern for that is gone. With everything seemingly in place, the Rangers are well on their way to continue being a success in the Big Apple after years of uncertainty.

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