After losing in the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, the Rangers seasons have only gotten shorter. What needs to be done in order for this team to get back in it?
Things are heating up in New York as the Blueshirts playoff chances drop to .03%. This will be the second year in a row that they miss the playoffs, and the 25th year without a cup. It is very clear that something needs to change. To the Rangers, that change is age.
An early sign of this change was on July 18, 2016, when the Rangers traded key player Derick Brassard for the young, Mika Zibanejad. This trend continued as they sent away players like Stepan, Grabner, McDonagh, and Miller. Each trade resulting in some form of youth.
The New York Rangers are currently the 7th youngest team in the NHL, with an average age of 26.7.
The Rangers proceed with the rebuild as they trade away the 31-year-old, Mats Zuccarello. The fan and player favorite is exchanged for a 2019 conditional 2nd round pick and a 2020 conditional 3rd round pick from the Dallas Stars.
It is clear that the defensive side of the team is struggling. The Rangers are 6th in shots against and 7th in goals against. The more glaring issue is the offense, standing at 2nd to last in shots per game.
The push for a stronger offense has started with the pickup of the 22-year-old left wing, Brendan Lemieux; a piece of the recent Kevin Hayes trade. Lemieux quickly made his name known in New York as he scored his first goal for NYR in his second game.
Going into the draft, the Rangers have a lot to consider. By the looks of it, they need an elite goalscorer, a player that can lift them to the next level. Currently sitting 7th to the bottom in league standings, the chances of a top 8 pick are good, but never guaranteed with how the draft lottery system works.