*Regular Season Finish: 6th in Eastern Conference’*Postseason Finish: Eliminated in Eastern Conference Quarter Finals’
The Rangers came up short on goal scoring when they met Alexander Ovechkin and the high-powered Capitals’ offense. This offseason, the Rangers made wholesale changes to their offense, in hopes of giving themselves a better chance at competing in the packed Atlantic Division. One of their biggest moves was signing Slovakian winger Marian Gaborik, who has been the face of the Minnesota Wild since the franchise was born. Gaborik has shown he has the ability to be a superstar in the NHL, with a deadly combination of scoring talent and blazing speed. The one drawback to his game is the fact that he has suffered a number of serious injuries throughout his career, including a broken leg that cost him most of 2008-09. >
Clearing the cap space for Gaborik was made possible by the trade of Scott Gomez to Montreal. In return, the Rangers got a tough, but talented player in Chris Higgins, as well as a top defensive prospect in Ryan McDonagh to add to their collection of strong young defensemen. The Rangers also hope they have upgraded their league-worst powerplay with the addition of specialist Ales Kotalik. Kotalik’s game is far from complete, but he seems to excel on the powerplay, and should fit nicely on the Rangers’ 2nd or 3rd line in even-strength situations.
With the departure of tough guy Colton Orr to Toronto, the Rangers were in need of an enforcer to protect their scorers. They found their man in experienced enforcer Donald Brashear, who has made a name for himself as one of the toughest fighters in the league. The Rangers also added Tyler Arnason and young talent Brian Boyle, giving them much-needed depth up front.
Interestingly enough, the Rangers have been and should still be considered in the running for the acquisition of disgruntled Ottawa Senator Dany Heatley. While this is purely speculation, the combination of Heatley’s powerful shot and goal scoring abilities with Gaborik’s blazing speed would be lethal, and might give the Rangers that superstar scoring ability that they’ve been missing since the departure of Jaromir Jagr. >