Honestly, with the East being such a turd-party this year, I really have a hard time seeing the Rangers doing anything major, much less blowing it up (which lets face it, trading Girardi or Callahan would be) until right up to the trade deadline.
For me, the worst possible situation would be that we continue to play roughly .500 hockey, making the playoffs as a 5-8 seed, and in the process hold onto both Girardi and Callahan, thus having to give both raises this summer or lose them for nothing. Only to get bounced yet again in the first or second round.
Plain and simple there have just been too many years of mediocre hockey played by this franchise, and if the organization decides not to make major changes, all I can see is more of the same. For those who want to resign Cally and G, where and what do we use to get better? If we resign those two, our best bet is the cap space created from buying out Richards. The problem is there's just no real first line, elite talent available down that road anytime soon.
And really, if you look at how this team has performed over the last few years, with the current core, it's hard to not see a downward trend. Everyone clings to 10-11, which admittedly was my favorite season in a looong time, but we didn't even make the Finals(not to mention that was a year without Crosby for the Pens). And as good as that Ranger team was, they were still flawed enough that they couldn't avoid going to 7 games with both the 8th and 7th seeded teams. Their inability to dominate those teams, and shorten the series, contributed majorly to them being physically worn out by the time they faced the Devils. Then the next year, the team did worse in the regular season, and in my opinion never even had a chance in the Bruins series. Outside of Nash, there was just absolutely no threat to create any kind of offense or score goals.
Now we come to the present season, and I think the team's record and performance on the ice speaks for itself. I'm having a real hard time figuring out what free agent is going to come turn around this team. Kreider and McDonagh aren't going anywhere. You don't resign Callahan and Girardi and then trade them that year or even the next. DZ isn't bringing back top line talent and as it stands the team won't be drafting high enough to grab an impact player who's going to be able to make a difference anytime soon. Sadly, other than McIlrath the team's prospect depth is probably the thinnest it's been in a long time. There are simply no elite or A grade forward prospects in the system much less anywhere near contributing meaningfully anytime soon for the big club (yes, I no longer consider Kreider a prospect). So for those who want to stand pat, where is the help going to come from? How is this team plus 1 big name free agent going to become a legit Stanley Cup threat? Isn't the whole signing big name free agents thing exactly what people bemoan the Rangers for constantly doing?
I know it's not worth much, but my vote is now officially in favor of a rebuild. The goal is to win the Cup, not consistent mediocrity. Without significant changes, there will be no significant change, and we will be left with a somewhat above average team, without a real shot at the Cup, both for now and the immediate future. It's getting old. I've loved this core and loved watching them grow, but it's time to try and move forward. I'd rather watch the Rangers win a Cup than watch Callahan's entire career be in Rangers blue. I'm a Rangers fan before I'm a Cally, G, Staal or even Henrik fan. I want a Cup, and just like 94, I'll take it whether or not it's the result of free-agency, trades, or homegrown talent.
I agree as to the "rebuild".
However, consider we DO have some nice prospects. Just not ready for NHL today.
If we re-sign Cally / Girardi, should only be if we can get a number we can live with if we are stuck wit them, in case we decide to trade during next year.
How much do you want to add? I like the idea of Heatley because there will likely be almost no market for him.
If we are adding players, I'd like for those players to be useful. If we are adding Heatley, that leaves little cap space to add anyone else, and I don't feel that Heatley would be useful.
Whose spot would Heatley take? Poo has just as many points in 3 less games. Heatley isn't a defensive forward, he isn't going to play on the 4th line, kill penalties or be a physical, agitating presence. What does he add to this team?
In addition to moving out small-medium pieces for an upgrade, we need to move a guy like Stepan for a quality upgrade on what we need.
On what we need? We need Centers.
Richards will get amnestied this summer.
That leaves us with Stepan-Brassard-Miller-Boyle/Moore.
You want us to move Stepan for a quality upgrade? We need centers. Personally I'd shop Brassard, considering he's less effective offensively and defensively than Stepan. And will cost more than Stepan. And is older than Stepan. It's a no brainer.
The only reason why you want to move Stepan is because he doesn't have blazing speed. That's it. That's a piss poor reason to want to move someone.