With the loss of Artemi Panarin for the next few weeks, as he situates his personal life, the Rangers are forced to face a flurry of questions about their future. The good news for Gorton is that these questions have the rest of the season and the summer to be figured out. The New York Rangers find themselves in a rough chapter in the book of rebuilding.
What will the New York Rangers look like for the 2021-2022 season? As much as this team has changed during the past few seasons, more changes are clearly needed. The Rags need to bring in a NHL ready center. As great as Eichel sounds right now, is it a reality? As much as Strome drives the fan base crazy, does Artemi want him as his center? After Mika having a historically bad season, is he really our number 1 center? For a position that is critical for success, the Rangers have only question marks!
With Covid running through NHL teams like a wildfire, the Rangers have certainly felt its effects. Last night against the Flyers the Rangers were down Miller and Kakko and certainly felt the lack of depth as players like Trouba, Panarin, and Chytil out of the line up. With a team in the middle of a rebuild, they have their backs against the wall and will need to find ways to be competitive if this is a theme all season long. Can you see where I’m going here? Another high draft pick. If the Rangers gain the asset of a top 7 pick, it will certainly change things. But again, all our current issues can be answered after the season.
How can you fire Quinn given the current roster, distractions, injuries, Covid, and the depth of the division? Not all of this is on him. I see the Rangers making the change during the summer rather that adding more chaos mid season. Montreal firing Claude Julien might set a trend of coaches being let go. Rangers could find that waiting might be better than pulling the trigger right now. Maybe they will have some better choices during the off-season.
Whether it be our center depth, prospects, coaching, state of our “vets,” buyouts, and future acquisitions, the Rangers have plenty of work to be done. Question marks are everywhere within this organization and although playoffs were a real possibility in December, it isn’t time. Let the kids play. Let them learn the game and grow. Let the season play out and let all the current questions stop. Rangers need to shed the skin of 2020-21 and with the work of Gorton, we may hopefully soon turn the corner to the bright future of New York Rangers hockey.