Adam Rotter: This is a very interesting question and I think that the Rangers will be an improved team if they head into next season with basically the same lineup. In terms of players lost and replaced, I think it’s pretty much a push with Jeff Halpern, Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt and Michael Haley replacing John Mitchell, Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko.
A full season of Chris Kreider makes the Rangers better, faster and adds more scoring. Brad Richards should be better in his second season, you know what you will get from Ryan Callahan, and expect Derek Stepan to continue his progression into being a big-time center. They do need to add another scorer, whether it’s a major move or not, and Marian Gaborik will miss the first few months. Rebound seasons from Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov would help fix the Rangers scoring woes.
A healthy Marc Staal teams with Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto to form one of the better defense cores in the league, but there is still a need for defensemen to play consistent minutes.
In the end, the Rangers still have the best goalie in the game and that gives them a chance to win and be better every night.