Sundin Can’t Help the Rangers

I haven’t really talked about Mats Sundin possibly/probably coming to the Rangers because it seemed like such a dumb idea, I didn’t think there was any way it was really going to happen.

But more and more, it seems likes it’s going to happen.

It doesn’t make any sense for the Rangers, who are deep down the middle. In fact, they’re so deep, Chris Drury has spent some time out of position on the wing, where he just isn’t effective.

The Rangers are great at center. What they need is a finisher. Rangers coach Tom Renney tried to obviate that need by spreading out his two goal-scoring wings (Nikolai Zherdev and Markus Naslund) over different lines, but logic dictated putting them together with Scott Gomez when the Rangers suddenly stopped scoring. But beyond that line, the Rangers don’t really have any kind of offense.

And obviously, defense has been a huge problem for the Rangers. Dmitri Kalinin and Michal Rozsival are a combined -29 and the Rangers have given up 10 short-handed goals despite having the league’s best penalty kill, indicating this is a team that plays better with less players than with more.

Sundin won’t help with any of this. He’s a big body and a talented player, but he addresses no need for a very flawed Ranger team.

The fact of the matter is, a lot of the Rangers’ problems could be solved with better coaching. Their powerplay has struggled and they’re only now just practicing it. This, despite Chris Drury last week suggesting the team should practice it.

The Rangers are fixable, but the repairs need to be made to the wings, defense, and coaching. Unless Sundin is bringing his chalkboard with him or he’s planning a surprise position change, I don’t see how he’ll help very much.

Also, speaking of the Rangers, Puck Daddy picked up a great interview with the former Ranger. I always thought of Jagr as spacey, but he seems super-sharp in this interview; very aware of everything going on around the NHL. It’s a great read.