New York Rangers preview

Overview: The Rangers have always been a team that is close to the salary cap in an effort to make their team adequate.

They sign guys for too long for too much, then seem surprised when they struggle for a playoff spot, can’t build around anyone and can’t be a competitive playoff team.

Look at some of the contracts they’ve signed in the past few years:

Scott Gomez: $51.5 million over seven years (7.357 million cap hit)

Marian Gaborik: $37.5 million over five years ($7.5 million cap hit)

Wade Redden: $39 million over six years ($6.5 million cap hit)

Michael Rozsival: $24 million over four years ($6 million cap hit) 

Chris Drury: $35.25 million over five years (7.05 million cap hit)

They traded Gomez, and have now buried Redden in the minors. But that’s a  lot of superstar-type money for not one superstar. There’s not one person on that list that you would build a team around and have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Not one.

Best offseason move: Signing Alexander Frolov for one year, $3 million. Frolov was reportedly looking for $5 million a year for about five years. That’s too much money for a player whose numbers have decreased for four straight years. But $3 million for one years is a great move. Frolov gets a chance to play with Marian Gaborik. If he plays great, then he can probably sign a long-term deal somewhere next season. If he doesn’t play great, then the Rangers aren’t stuck with a long-term player making too much money (*cough Chris Drury).

Worst offseason move: Signing Derek Boogaard. It’s not the amount of the contract that is the issue. I predicted way back in May that he would probably get $1.5 million a year, although I was hoping that would be with the Habs. The issue is with the length of the contract. Four years is a little much. Montreal learned with Georges Laraque that you don’t want to sign a goon for more than two years. And the Rangers should have learned from Wade Redden that they shouldn’t sign any players for more than two years either.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Marian Gaborik for the Lady Byng.

Pool pick: Brandon Dubinsky. There’s a theory that NHL players in their fourth season start to break out and see their numbers go up. Whether it’s because they just needed to get used to the NHL, a chance to grow up, or whatever, for some reason that’s when they start to get it. Dubinsky is entering his fourth years, and has had three straight 40-plus-points seasons. Expect him to break through, and finish somewhere around 60. Who to stay away from: Vinny Prospal. He has a 80-point year, followed by a 50-point year. This has happened for eight years now. This year, he’s due for a 50-point year. May be worth a very late (like last round pick), but don’t overvalue him.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name the top New York Rangers in games played from 1985-86 to 2009-10?

Best hall of fame choice: Henrik Lundqvist. He’s a workhorse, starting about 70 games a year and winning about 35. If he keeps this up for five or six years (and since he’s 28 years old, there’s no reason to think that he can’t), followed by a few seasons where he’s on the decline, he could end up winning 400 games. He has an Olympic gold medal, two silver medals from the world championships, and a gold in inline hockey world championships. He just needs to add some NHL hardware (a Vezina, Stanley Cup or Conn Smyth trophy should do it).

Blog to follow: The New York Rangers blog (not the catchiest title, but it’s pretty good)

My Prediction: Fifth in the Atlantic, 12th in the East

Famous celebrity from that city: Anne Hathaway

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