How Will the 2012 NHL Lockout Affect the New York Rangers?
By Kristin Tullo (@KToools)
The New York Rangers are coming off of their deepest playoff run since losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1996-1997 Eastern Conference Finals and while they seem to have the roster to advance beyond the Conference Final and win the Stanley Cup for the fifth time in franchise history, the 2012 NHL lockout could not only ruin the teams momentum, but shorten the already limited amount of time before the Rangers face losing their top players to free agency.
On the fourth day of the NHL lockout, it is unclear if the season will have a delayed beginning which would shorten the typically 82 game long season or if there will be a repeat of 2004-2005 in which the entire season was cancelled. With twelve players set to become free agents after the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season, the New York Rangers would surely benefit by the NHL and NHLPA coming to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that would end the work stoppage and allow the Rangers best roster since their 1994 Championship team to step back on the ice. A cancelled season would take away what could be one of the last two chances this organization has to win it all.
Vezina winning goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, and team captain, Ryan Callahan, are two of the Rangers responsible for a lot of their recent success that will have the opportunity to test the market in two years, after spending their entire careers so far in New York. While former Minnesota Wild right wing, Marian Gaborik, may have been one of the most sought out free agents in 2009, the 30 year old from Czechoslovakia had surgery over the summer to repair a torn labrum and has been prone to injuries before, which could make Gaborik not as appealing as he once was to GM Glen Sather when it comes to re-signing.
The Rangers will have former Dallas Star Brad Richards and newly acquired center, Rick Nash well past 2013, but it remains to be seen how well Nash will play in a New York Rangers system that requires stamina and the ability to block shots, a task that Nash has only done 66 times in his entire nine year career. The team Glen Sather has built, filled with super star names and young defenseman that have bought into head coach John Tortorella’s system will all be wasted with anything less than a Championship and could send the eligible free agents out to test the market, leaving Glen Sather scrambling to rebuild yet another contender.
Marian Gaborik, Henrik Lundqvist, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi. Taylor Pyatt, Mike Rupp, Arron Asham, Michael Haley, Anton Stralman, Stu Bickel, Martin Biron.
Players that will be RFA’s:
2013-2014: Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin.
2014-2015: Chris Kreider