In just two years, the Rangers have turned the page on a team that had a terrific six-year run and transformed their team on the fly.
The moves have been on full display over the last two years; wise trades, quality drafting and competent management. Success after all is no secret.
Think about the past year.
The Rangers found a way to seal the deal on Artemi Panarin last summer, and his play has been off the charts.
The Rangers historically have seen many free agents fail to live up to the billing when they come to Madison Square Garden, but Panarin has bucked the trend.
His presence has been a game changer.
I figured Panarin’s contract meant the end of Chris Kreider in a Rangers uniform. After all, how would the Rangers make it work within the salary cap?
To their credit, the Rangers found a way to clear cap space and reward one of their homegrown snipers with a seven-year contract that will allow the team to make Kreider the next captain of the team.
Signing top free agents and rewarding your own is a great sign for the future of the franchise.
However, the emergence of Igor Shesterkin in net has solved another problem: how do you replace the longtime brilliance of Henrik Lundqvist?
Shesterkin has developed into the goaltender of the future and should be a force in net for years to come.
The Rangers will have to finalize the uncomfortable end to Lundqvist’s incredible tenure in New York, but it’s obvious that both parties need to move on.
In just two years, the Rangers have transformed from an old, decrepit, beaten down roster to one of the more exciting up-and-coming lineups in the game.
If only the other team that plays in Madison Square Garden could take notes. For one of the tenants at the World’s Most Famous Arena, the future is very bright!