Season 2 preview…
What can you say, what do you tell the defending cup champion to improve on? First, you congratulate them on the win and admire the work that current GM, Darren Tucker has done. His massive overhaul of a mediocre team was astounding and found GM Tucker working the phone lines constantly.
It all started with Tucker’s clear focus. Clean house of the horrible contracts that past GM Sather burdened the club with and start anew. Add to that, new leadership and direction were needed. So he started by removing former Captain Chris Drury to jump start this new era. Than went other older, high priced talent. Now that Tucker had some cap space, he moved some of his younger assests for established stars like IIlya Kovalchuk and Shea Weber.
I think everyone would agree that Tucker had a knack for finding undervalued/underperforming talent. He used this to his huge advantage and managed to constantly buy low and sell high. This continued for the majority of the year, allowing Tucker to end with a very deep and talented team, which inevitably won the cup.
So fast forward to the offseason, with two drafts and free agency planned, Tucker got right back to work. He clearly decided that he wanted to get some additional solid young talent. His team was ready for multiple cup runs with a large amount of his players in their prime, but always thinking for the future, Tucker realized that acquiring youth that could contribute now would be necessary to provide some cap freedom and ensure a dynasty. Adding that the experience these young players would received will be invaluable moving forward. He shipped off a few of the older pieces from his core, specifically Streit and Pronger, replacing them with Franzen and Umberger. Umberger was than moved to acquire young stud Tyler Myers. The dispersal draft was another time that GM Tucke truly shined, snatching three young studs in Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Cuma and Colin Wilson.
Another area where Tucker made vast improvements is with his farm team. He has created a great system for his young players to develop and you can bet that they will all be contributors in the near future.
When you look over the Rangers team, they are clearly the deepest from top to bottom. Their top 6 forwards are one of, if not the best in the league. His third and fourth lines can all score and are solid defensively.
Ilya Kovalchuk86 - Patrice Bergeron 82 -Marian Gaborik 84 Shea Weber85 Tobias Enstrom81
Daniel Sedin 83 - Henrik Sedin 84 - Johan Franzen 81 Brent Burns81 Tyler Myers78
Tyler Kennedy 78 - Jordan Staal 81 - Rich Peverley 80 Mark Giordano77 Tyler Cuma75
Raffi Torres 76 - Jochen Hecht 76 - Joel Ward 75
On the defensive end, anchored by one of the best all around dmen in the league, Shea Weber looks to shoulder an even bigger load this year with the departure of Pronger and Streit. However, I really look to Tobias Enstrom to have a breakout season. This Dunit is young and talented with an ability to put up a lot of points.
In net the Rangers have one of the premier goalies in the league. King Henrik will look to continue his strong play and one can’t but believe he will. With a solid number two now in place, Lundqvist will hopefully see some more rest and the Ranger will not skip a beat. Mike Smith will bring solid goaltending, giving the Rangers one of the best 1-2 punches in the league. Keep in mind that the Rangers have young star Jhonas Enroth waiting in the wings.
Just looking at this team, the age of its core group of players and the mix of wily veterans and young studs that can only improve, it certainly seems like a re-peat is near and a dynasty is on the horizon.
Sick article man, thanks for the vote of confidence!