When Alain Vigneault was brought to New York to replace the embattled John Tortorella this off-season, we assumed the offense would take a turn in a positive direction.
While the easy thought is to call this another coaching failure, perhaps it is time to take a look at the people who should be doing the actual goal scoring.
And when you do that…yikes.
The Rangers are currently averaging 2.19 goals per game, 28th in the league. Compared that to last season, when they averaged 2.63 (15th), and you see that they are well off the pace of an offense most were disappointed in last year.
They are having trouble just scoring over 3 goals in any game, doing so only twice (both wins) in the last month.
And while the defense (and sometimes even the highest paid goalie in the league Henrik Lundqvist) have been criticized all season, a bunch of star players have avoided scrutiny.
Just look at the goal tallies over the past 10 games for some of the Rangers biggest players outside of Rick Nash and the rejuvenated, Brad Richards:
Derrick Brassard: 1
Michael Del Zotto: 1
Carl Hagelin: 1
Derek Stepan: 1
Ryan Callahan: 1
These are all supposed to be scoring threats and that is anything but what they are. Now down Callahan to injury for 4-6 weeks, the Rangers are going to be without their Captain (who himself has only scored twice in the last month), trying to right the ship.
While many just carry the torch of trading Michael Del Zotto, full of imaginary value, for someone’s hidden treasure, perhaps now is time for the Blueshirts to consider unloading a piece or two of real value.
I won’t even bring up Ryan Callahan because of the mess that would bring (for now), but you have Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan, two pieces with tangible value, that are both up after next year and could be used to bring in better pieces for AV’s system. Along with that, even if you can trade one of the theoretical future contracts the Rangers will have to give out, in all likelihood, they still need to amnesty Brad Richards for cap reasons. With him having a bit of a career revitalization so far, now might be the time to throw him into a trade with another valuable commodity to bring in a younger talent, who would hold a much smaller cap number and more years of control.
Or the Rangers could hold the course and hope to heat up closer to the playoffs. Being in the Metropolitan division sure helps keep struggling teams alive and currently being the 9th seed suggests that only a little luck (like more than one OT game to get extra points out of) would have them in the playoff picture permanently, despite how bad they have been.
But if the ultimate goal is still so (you know, that old cup thing), the offense is going to have to come together sooner than later, one way or another.