If you thought you had seen a divided New York Rangers fan base before the offseason, I can’t even imagine what you’re thinking now. Chris Drury did what he said he was going to do and picked up some bottom 6 depth that should help balance out the New York Rangers lineup.
First it was the pick up of two time Stanley Cup champion Barclay Goodrow, followed by the trade of Pavel Buchnevich for 25 year old Stanley cup champion Sammy Blais. During free agent frenzy, Drury went out and picked up tough guy Jarred Tinordi and everyone knew what the Rangers were doing. They were loading up with guys who make it harder for other players to do their job.
Left and right people all over Twitter tweeted out that Tom Wilson ruined the Rangers franchise in hopes to come across as super original and clever. Rangers fan blogs across the internet pounded the alarms in hope for more skilled players to clog up the 4th line with meaningless shifts like Nic Petan or a forward version of Adam Clendening. How dare the Rangers do this? How dare the Rangers add the word everyone hates —“grit”? Yuck.
As things were finally calming down, things were finally starting to level out, we were hit with this last night.
Well, I don’t think you have to worry about the Rangers getting bullied around next season. The deals to pick up players like Goodrow, Blais and Tinordi, in addition to Reavo coming to Broadway goes to show that the Rangers woke up this offseason and chose violence. Did Tom Wilson change this franchise? Yes, he absolutely did— but it wasn’t just him. The Rangers were pushed around last season quite frequently. They were easy to play against. Teams saw the Rangers on the calendar and thought 1 thing— shut down 10 and 93 and we win. They never looked at the calendar and thought “Oh shit, we have to play the Rangers.” Well, it won’t be like that anymore.
If you look at the top 6, the Rangers are loaded with talent. 13 and 24 will get their chances to be top 6 talents in the league, something 95% of Rangers fans, myself included, complained about last year— they’ll get their opportunity and isn’t that what we want? Our first and second overall picks getting minutes? 93 and 10 will come back healthy and ready to wheel and 20 will do his same “I’m here, now I’m not” act he does every season. The bottom six will be a different bottom six than we’ve had in the past few years. The third line will have some skill but will also bring sandpaper to their game to hopefully be annoying for anyone they’re playing against and the fourth line will finally have an identity. Yeah, they won’t score that many goals, but has any of our most recent fourth lines done that? This fourth line will make it hard for the other teams defense. How? There isn’t a stat out there that shows how nervous a defenseman gets going back to retrieve the puck when players like Reavo or Blais are breathing down their neck. There isn’t a stat showcasing the ‘Yips’ when defenseman know they’re going to get finished off every time they have the puck. This fourth line will generate momentum when our top lines need it or when they don’t have it that particular night, a stat that also cannot be calculated. This fourth line will be there when the play gets tough and that’s something we haven’t been able to say since Boyle – Moore – and Dorsett.
In my opinion, the Rangers are a better, more complete team today then they were at the end of last season. They’ll have a healthy 93 and 10, they’ll have some kids in 24 and 13 ready to make a jump, and they’ll have a bottom 6 ready to do whatever, whenever, to help the boys take home a W. You can’t win with nothing but skill and you can’t win with nothing but grit. You need a little bit of both and that’s exactly what Drury is trying to do.