Plugging Holes: Atlantic Division
Key offseason fixes for the Rangers, Devils, Pens, Flyers and Isles
With the Stanley Cup Final in the books, it's time for every NHL team to tinker with its roster and see how it can retool for next season. The analysts of Hockey Prospectus provide some help, identifying the biggest shortcoming on every NHL roster using their GVT valuation metric (explained here) and offering a unique suggestion on how to fix it for 2012-13. The series starts with fixes for the five teams in the Atlantic Division, where the Rangers could have a big name in their crosshairs.
The hole: Dynamic first-line forward
You really have to give Glen Sather and Co. a ton of credit for remaking the Rangers within a few short years. Gone are underachieving, overpaid veterans such as Scott Gomez and Wade Redden, while young talent such as Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto have taken their place, filling key roles. Sather rightly held off on giving up picks and blue-chip prospects for Rick Nash at the trade deadline -- that would have been one step forward and two steps back -- but the Blueshirts remain a top-line forward away from being a true Cup contender. It's not just scoring that was missing against the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals, but a two-way presence to drive possession and tilt the ice. Fortunately for them, there should be one available this summer.
To get the fixes and see where the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Devils and Isles need to turn their attention, you must be an ESPN Insider. Sign up today to get access to free-agent rumors, draft news and more.