As free agency has quieted down in the NHL and the New York Rangers seem to only have to worry about Derek Stepan as all of their other moves have been made, fans need to calm down. So many people are down on the team, when all they did was shore up their depth with players, specifically Raphael Diaz who is a solid player. The team also has Brady Skjei and Oscar Lindberg waiting in the AHL to come up and help the team. So why the hysteria Rangers fans?
Carl Hagelin, Cam Talbot, and Martin St. Louis are definitely losses, but they are not crippling losses. Anti Raanta is a solid proven NHL backup goaltender, and Emerson Etem is a 23 year old young talented player with veteran postseason experience as he played for the Anaheim Ducks. The Rangers also signed Viktor Stalberg to a one year contract, where Stalberg, a Stanley Cup champion in 2013 can bring his veteran experience and grit to the Rangers. While some may say that Stalberg signed a big contract with the Nashville Predators in 2013 and struggled, Stalberg is only on a one year contract where he has to prove whether or not he deserves to be resigned next season or whether or not he has value to other teams. Stalberg will be sure to bring his top game, as this may be his last chance if he falters.
The Rangers who had very little cap space managed to replace Hagelin, Talbot and St.Louis with solid NHL players. So long as Derek Stepan is resigned to a new contract, Rangers fans should not be in a such a panic. Yes the Penguins got better with Phil Kessel, yes the Capitals got better with T.J Oshie, but really how much better? So now the Penguins have more offense, but can they defend enough? So now the Capitals have T.J Oshie, but can Braden Holtby repeat his amazing season and postseason? Just because these teams made flashy acquisitions does not mean that they are going to suddenly dominate the Metropolitan Division.
Rangers fans want the big move to feel better about the team, but this team has won more playoff series that any team in the past few seasons, has been to three Eastern Conference Finals in four years, and has gone to a Stanley Cup Finals in 2014. So what is there to complain about? Yes this is New York and fans want instant success, but the Rangers have given fans the most consistent success since 2012. The Rangers are the only New York area team to make it to a championship game or round, and have made the postseason ever year since 2010, something which no other local team can say.
So Rangers fans, stop freaking out about the team before training camp even starts. If Stepan is resigned, the 2015-2016 New York Rangers will be in the hunt for not only a repeat Metropolitan Division championship, but a Stanley Cup. The Rangers are even in talent with the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, and can hold their own against the Tampa Bay Lightning. These three teams are the Rangers biggest competition and the Rangers have already shown that they are more than capable of handling these three teams when healthy. So Rangers fans, relax and enjoy the baseball season and get ready to watch our team battle for the Stanley Cup next season.