Veteran New York Rangers Getting Accustomed To New Look

New York Rangers Role Models
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: Mats Zuccarello #36, Brady Skjei #76 and Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers have a conversation in the first period against the New York Islanders during their game at Barclays Center on February 15, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers new look leaves fans and veterans unsettled. A few weeks ago, New York Rangers President Glen Sather and general manager Jeff Gorton sent a letter to the fans letting them know that a shakeup was about to take place. Also, that there would be some familiar faces on the go. The Rangers have indeed done just that and are now in full rebuild mode. For some of the few remaining Rangers veterans, this may take some getting used to.

New York Rangers New Look

The Rangers traded forward Michael Grabner to the New Jersey Devils, forward Rick Nash and defenseman Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins (two separate deals), and perhaps te biggest trade of the deadline- defenseman and Captain Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In return, the Rangers received several players, prospects and multiple picks, all of which are vital assets in their rebuilding path.

However, there is one thing that some Rangers fans may notice. Since the 2013-14 season, the one in which the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Final- there are only fives players remaining (Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Jesper Fast, Mats Zuccarello, and Chris Kreider). Four years may have gone by, but it is still crazy to believe that the team has changed so drastically. Whether it was through free agency, trades or contract buyouts, the Rangers have changed drastically.

For some of those players, the whole process of the trading was challenging. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has this to say to the New York Post– “It’s been three or four weeks dealing with the fact this was going to happen, which made it very tough to have the mindset you need to be able to play. It has been very tough. You almost can’t believe it, that so many players you’d been with for so long and that you’d had gone through so much, aren’t here anymore. It’s been a little challenging these last four weeks, but now that it’s done, it feels like we have a new team. We need to regroup a little bit. It’s a new start. We need to make the most of it.”

“Seeing Mac go was really sad for me,” said Fast. “I looked up to him every day. He’s a great guy to set an example of how to be a professional. But this is part of the business. The last couple of weeks have been very difficult and pretty emotional. I’ve never been a part of anything like this and neither have most of us on this team. Now, though, we have our team. We can try and build something here.”

Time to Work

The Rangers have made the moves necessary for a rebuild but now have several important tasks ahead of them. They must first finish the remainder of the 2017-18 season strong and fight for a playoff spot. Second, they must have a successful 2018 NHL Entry Draft (they have eight picks), and third, they must go into next season’s training camp looking to prove themselves. This is practically a brand new Rangers team. They are young and looking for experience. It is up to the leadership on the Blueshirts to be the guiding light for the youngsters and show them the way. In a long and storied history, the franchise has rebuilt many times before. Many of those resulted in success and growth for the organization.

It’s going to be a challenging road and a tough one to be sure, but that is what comes when you rebuild a team. The Rangers must be ready to fight night in and night out and rebuild their way to the top.

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