by PuckStopsHere on 08/05/09 at 04:10 PM ET
The New York Rangers were the third lowest scoring team in the NHL last season. They averaged 2.44 goals per game, finishing barely ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and New York Islanders. Improving the offence in New York should be a priority. The highest scoring player who finished the 2008/09 season as a Ranger was Nik Antropov, who was acquired on trade deadline day from the Toronto Maple Leafs. His 59 points led the Rangers. Antropov left the team as a free agent when he signed with the Atlanta Thrashers.
Among players who spent the entire 2008/09 with the Rangers, Scott Gomez and Nikolai Zherdev led the team in scoring with 58 points. Both of them are gone. Gomez was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. The biggest scorer from last season acquired in return was Chris Higgins, who is coming off a 23 point year. Zherdev won’t be back with the Rangers either. They have walked away from his $3.9 salary arbitration award to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent. Last year’s three top point scorers on the lowest scoring playoff team will not be back. How can that be a step forward?
It gets worse. The Rangers leading goal scorer from last season was Markus Naslund, who scored 24 goals. He has retired. The only player on the Rangers who exceeded 50 points last year was Chris Drury. That is extremely low for a playoff team.
The Rangers will not be a bottom feeding team because they have a top goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist, but they will not be able to score much. The need for scoring in New York is an obvious one, but it is not one being addressed. Losing their top three point scorers and their top goal scorer does not help things. The only player acquired who might be able to score next year is Marian Gaborik, who is a significant injury risk, but can score if healthy.
Is there a plan to acquire scoring for the Rangers? There is no sign of it. They have let a lot of their top scorers from last year’s team get away this summer. That is not particularly well thought out.
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