Extreme makeover: Rangers

Rick Nash, young forwards and strong D guide Cup aspirations

Updated: August 2, 2012, 2:28 PM ET
By Neil Greenberg | Special to ESPN Insider
Chris KreiderCal Sport Media/AP ImagesChris Kreider will boost the Rangers, but expectations should be tempered.

Trades and signings alter the makeup of rosters every summer, but some franchises renovate their teams far more aggressively than others. For five weeks, Insider contributor Neil Greenberg will examine some of the biggest summer shake-ups to see what we can expect from the overhauled lineups in the coming season. The series continues with the New York Rangers.

Glen Sather, the Rangers president and general manager, always gets his man.

In 2009, it was Marian Gaborik, who has rewarded fans with two 40-goal seasons in his three years in New York. Last summer, it was Brad Richards, who played a major role in the team's ascension to the top of the Eastern Conference. This offseason, the Blueshirts acquired winger Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets, giving the Rangers the offensive help many think they needed to bring the Cup back to Broadway.

"We're happy to have a five-time All-Star on our team and a 40-goal scorer, a guy that's only 28 years old, and he's one of the better goal scorers in the National Hockey League," Sather said. "He'll help us immensely."

With a high-profile addition such as Nash, plus a pair of up-and-coming forwards in Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider, it is easy to see how much the offense has been improved. But it is the defense, from the goaltending outward, that makes the Rangers the team to beat in the East.


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Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.