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I could never understand how teams made bold trades or adjustments when they were on top of the league. When Claude Julien got dumped by Jersey a few days before the playoffs I laughed. When the Rangers moved Mike Gartner to the Leafs at the deadline in 94 I cried ( well a little) . But the truth is sometimes these head scratchers become huge chess moves in capturing the Cup.

The Rangers are sitting on top of the east ,but not all is rosey ( no pun intended) on Broadway. The Blueshirts gave up a league worst 7th short handed goal last night. The team continues to rely on the Vezina performance of Henrik Lundqvist to win games. Despite its 3rd- ranked team D ( last night) has some questions on the blue line in Rozsival. The 29 year old Czech defenseman is a -11 and has become the new Marik Malik in acting as the Garden's whipping boy. After two horrible plays on the line vs. Boston last Saturday his hands tightened up and the puck rolled over his stick,leading to a shorthanded Boston goal. The fans have made it know early that his performance is not acceptable. The irony is that Wade Redden was supposed to be the target on the line,but has continued to better his game. If the Rangers are smart ( and aren't already) they need to start shopping Rozsival now. The worst thing they need is 18 thousand scouts in the crowd decreasing his value every home game. Michal has had some great goals in NY ( OT playoffs vs. Buffalo) but maybe the loss of his fellow Czech mates has taken a slight toll on him. Could it be that he is feeling the affects of singing a 4 year $20 million dollar deal? Either way if a team is willing to listen ( Ottawa & St Louis) maybe it's time to let him go. The sad part is I like Rozi and think he's quite the serviceable D-man when on his A game. But the fact remains that the club has too many cap issues coming on soon,and his 5 million a year is expendable.

The play of Paul Mara definitely deserves a contract extension. I wouldn't go crazy but two years at 2.5$ could do the trick. Mara has been vocal on the ice every night and sits at a +3 this season. His leadership in the Locker room has steadied Marc Staal and he has stepped up his toughness,trying to take on the void left by Jason Strudwick's departure to Edmonton. If they can move Rozi,giving Corey Potter a few months on the line to prove his worth is all they need. The big Michigan native looked liked he belonged on the team in Sept,and has tailed off in Hartford. Yet, sometimes talented players need to play with better talent to show their worth.If Potter falters a little bit,the Rangers will have some cap room to bring on the much needed grit they still sorely lack. Maybe theres a chance John Davidson would be willing to listen to offers for Jay Mckee. Mckee would have another year left on his deal at 4 million per.The Rangers are going to need every penny if they are going to look at extending Marc Staal,Brandon Dubinsky,and Nik Zheredev. Plus, they will have young defenseman ready to add to the mix in the next few years ( Saguinetti,DelZotto,etc).

Not only will be resigning their own players be an issue,but protecting their own current assets are a must. Lundqvist takes a lot of abuse in the crease and their is no excuse for it. The club needs to add grit and attitude they lost when Avery signed in Dallas. They need it on the blue line and they need another forward who can shake up an opposing bench. Voros despite his 7-5-12 performance has dipped down to a -2 and may be coming back down to earth. Wild fans said that he would have dips in performance and that is one thing a winning team can not afford. Despite his issues on and off the ice,Sean Avery rarely took a night off of work. If the team loses the king to an injury from an opposing player,it will fall on the managements shoulders. Maybe the club is holding its breath for just a few more weeks until Sundin makes his final choice. If he's ready to play for the Rangers,it should help the power play and take much needed pressure off their blue line. Sundin is a beast around the net and some of the kill will be diverted to containing his game down low. As for the cap problem, one may have to decide if Scott Gomez's 7 million is enough to cut the cord on (3-1 with out him).On the other hand they may have to wonder if Dubinsky's drop in play is just another growing pain worth the gamble of a big money extension with a surplus of centers in the midst.

If the Rangers want prevent a drastic collapse like Ottowa last year it may be time reinforce the fort now.
Filed Under:   Rangers   Blues   Ottowa   NHL   Toronto   Flyers  
November 20, 2008 11:55 AM ET | Delete
maybe the rangers could swing a deal for someone on Florida. Maybe a Horton, Booth, or Stillman. Just a thought
November 20, 2008 12:32 PM ET | Delete
Dude, Avery took plenty of nights off, mainly in the second round of the playoffs where he was non existant...Other then that I agree, i'd love to see some moves, and bring in some consistency, which we haven't seen from our team all year =\
November 20, 2008 12:55 PM ET | Delete
adwolf not sure I'de want to take on an older player like Stillman. I know Florida had interest in Dubinksy becuase the he an Booth played really well in the World championship last summer. So on the flipside maybe we could take on Booth. But if something happens with Florida I think Slats is gonna try and get Jay-Bo...you think its worth it?
November 20, 2008 12:57 PM ET | Delete
evitageN, I hear you on that Aves fell apart vs the Penns,but so did most of the club. Looking back I think Rutuu outshadowed him,just watching the Rangers Sens game the otherday.
November 20, 2008 2:08 PM ET | Delete
Yea Stillman is getting old but he still brings a scoring threat and could still keep up with the players we have. how about Dawes and Korpikoski for Booth and a 3rd round pick. Korpikoski is a going to be great but Booth is very young and the kid can sure play. I do not want Jay Bo. I honestly just think that our defense is pretty much set even though they are playing like shyt recently. I would change the D lines up. Rozi and Redden are both struggling so maybe they need to change things up. Stall ReddenRozi GirardiKalinin Mara
November 20, 2008 2:31 PM ET | Delete
Yeah Renny played Doctor last night mixing up the D. Hmmm Dawes and Korpi hugh...well it would give Florida the center they need. Damn moving Korpi I'de have to have a Heiniken and a cig before pulling on the trigger. But it would give them some foward space...The only thing to think is if Booth is going to need the same extension Dubi is due for at the same time....
November 20, 2008 3:13 PM ET | Delete
I would do it, but that is just me. Booth with Dubinsky and Zherdev that would be one hell of a line if you ask me.
November 20, 2008 4:11 PM ET | Delete
adwolf, I just don't see how we could sing all 3 of those guys...
November 20, 2008 4:51 PM ET | Delete
EvitageNYea that would be a problem but that is why it might be a good idea to part ways with Rozi and get back at least a couple of picks and maybe a prospect.
November 20, 2008 6:28 PM ET | Delete
Still even if we drop Rozi, we still have a lotta cap trouble I think =[
November 20, 2008 6:45 PM ET | Delete
Yea we are screwed either way. lol
November 21, 2008 3:45 PM ET | Delete
unless we could get a package for either gomez or drury..both of them at 7 mil really hurts us..if one had to go which would you guys choose?
November 21, 2008 4:30 PM ET | Delete
Honestly I would get rid of Drury. Gomez is a great player but he is being wasted right now because we have no one that can play with him.
November 21, 2008 6:45 PM ET | Delete
i know since weve gotten him we havent had that sniper to put on his wing..we thought it would work with jagr and zherdev but for some reason it just hasnt happened..also zherdev and gomez havent bee given much chance to develop any chemistry..gomez earns his paycheck much more than drury does
November 21, 2008 6:55 PM ET | Delete
Well I mean it's not like Drury hasn't earned his paycheck I would just rather have Gomez on my team than Drury at this point in time. The people that are going to be responsible if we make the playoffs or not are on the shoulders of 5 players Hank Redden Rozi Gomez Drury. I would say 3 out of the 5 have earned their paycheck. I think you can Figure out what 2 I am talking about that need to pick up the slack
November 21, 2008 8:05 PM ET | Delete
You have to realize that the cap is going to drop this year. The NHl is turning into the NBA... Looking at contracts Gomez has a 7 year deal and Dru had a year contract. Part of the issue with the Rangers is they can't even afford to bring in a wing for Gomez. Looking at some of our kids now,and the next few seasons... The club needs to make sure they have the funds to sign them and have cap room to add free agents.Dru is at the top of the team in points and over the last few games has showed his true colors. The whole plot changes if Mats comes on board..until them see you Rozi!
November 21, 2008 8:06 PM ET | Delete
Drury 5 year deal..
November 29, 2008 11:43 AM ET | Delete
I think people worry a little too much about the cap.........there will be options.............worst case scenario is lets say they have 1 million avail now...........they can send down players to make room too........Rissmillers 1 million for example.......Prucha will be dealt at some pt so that is 1.6.............they can squeek someone with a descent contract in......lets say Antropov from TO, he makes only 2 million and is a FA next yrA guy like Stillman will make sense at the deadline........the list will grow as time goes on and teams fall out of it...........I would deal Rozi if they can package him and Dawes/Prucha or even Rissmiller or Fritsche for a scoring Winger like Vermette per say..........and they would need a Dman backnext yr is next yr and yes they will resign Dubi, Zherdev, they have too.........worry about salary then.......Rozi has value still, he is playing better.........i am torn between trading or keeping himIn my perfect world I think the D is real solid and it should stay intact...........I think patience is a virtue.........Antropov for Dawes, Prucha......demoting Rissmiller would fit the cap and add a scoring winger..........
December 1, 2008 2:09 PM ET | Delete
Vitto79 your on point man. I've been thinking the Rangers could use Nik Antopov going back to last year. His added size makes sence for several reasons. 1 he played with Mats in TO 2) Adding another Eastern European to help Z and even Anisimov 3) we are still undersized on the wing
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