The holiday season may be coming to a close, but the gifts keep on coming for the New York Rangers and their fans.
Winners of eight of their last nine contests, New York is tied for third in the Metro division with 43 points and a 19-11-5 record. Key wins against the Islanders, Avalanche, Golden Knights and Devils have turned a frustrating start to the season into an exciting end of December.
With the Christmas season coming to a close though, there are many ways for the Rangers to improve their overall roster, and wishes the fanbase can potentially have for their team.
Here are three wishes for the Rangers as they look to continue their recent run of success.
1. Get Patrick Kane
The Kane sweepstakes will dominate the trade deadline period and we’re not really at a point where the Rangers will need to make a move for the former Stanley Cup Champion.
While Kane’s numbers this season aren’t much to be excited about (25 points) at this point in the season, the 34-year-old winger would be a great fit with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad.
Chris Drury has done a great job of accumulating draft capital where they can offer one or two first-round picks for the upcoming draft. The question will end up being if Chicago wants to deal with the Rangers or Islanders. Both New York teams are expected to be major players for the four-time all-star.
If the Rangers want to be considered top title contenders though, they’ll need more offensive firepower.
Getting Patrick Kane is the easiest solution there.
2. Find a set solution to final defensive pairing
Speaking to many reporters and fans, finding a set partner for Braden Schneider might be a bigger need than another offensive talent. Schneider has had to play with Zac Jones, Libor Hajek, and now Ben Harpur.
Jacob Trouba’s struggles in 2022 haven’t helped either. The captain has been demoted to the third pairing multiple times over the last few games and it’s meant the third defensive pairing is already a bigger liability than before.
The Rangers need to find a set and consistent solution to play with Schneider or they will continue to struggle when it matters most down the stretch.
3. Trust the Kids
A consistent piece to the Rangers’ struggles over the first couple of months was a lack of trust in some of the team’s younger players. Vitali Kravtsov has only seen ice time in 15 games.
Other players like Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and even Filip Chytil have had to move lines several times due to injuries or inconsistent play.
Gerard Gallant has done a good job recently of sticking with the guys he has and letting them play, but the Rangers need to start trusting their young players. It’s difficult to see Kravtsov find a role with the team when he’s only playing once every week. That goes for the rest of the young players on the team as well that has produced.
The more Gallant and the staff trust their young players, the more likely we’ll see the entire group succeed as a whole.