If this is another lost year, at least there is hope
If we bomb again for the 7th year in a row, I think there's hope. Rangers Management has a real chance at rebuilding this entire team next offseason because of all the contracts that are expiring. I believe only Holik, Kasparitus, Dunham, Devries, and Malakhov are under contract for the 2004-2005 season. We'll have a lot of holes to fill and perhaps we might actually fill them with promising prospects ! I would also assume that if we fail again this year, Sather and his crew are gone. Plus, if there's a salary cap like expected, even if Ranger management wanted to shell out long term big buck contracts to veterans, they really couldn't. Gotta believe.
just for the record. Even with last years team of underachievers the rangers still had a shot to make the playoffs but blew it big time. This years team appears improved and patched holes at LW and added devries to a blueline sadly needing minutes. So I think they have a decent shot at the postseason.
As far as building for the future, one need only look at the paltry ranking of the rangers prospets to realize that they will once again dip into free agency to fill holes. Yes they have some very nice young players who will hopefully continue to develop but compared to say ... Ottawa or Washington or Pittsburgh who have a wealth of prospects the rangers are sorely lacking sufficient talent.
With the CBA looming I personally am making the assumption that we have NO HOCKEY next year. That way if they do lace them up its just a bonus. There will still be good quality organized hockey going on all over the world, just no NHL action.