Not every team is built to win the Stanley Cup. That’s obvious, but what I’m saying is, not every team is built trying to win the Stanley Cup. A good number of teams are self-aware about what they are, and would be more than happy just cracking the playoffs, or winning a round or two, depending on their history/roster/pre-season expectations and all that. And, of course, some teams are serious about the big prize.
Now that we’ve got the World’s Most Obvious Paragraph out of the way, what we’re doing today is looking at the teams who are legitimately just a move, just a tweak away from getting to their next level. The teams who could actually benefit this season from being active at the deadline.
So, with the preamble licked, let’s get to it. Here are five teams that can take their next step with one addition.
New York Rangers
3rd in Metro, 7th in the East, 69 points in 62 games. Two points from being out of a playoff spot entirely.
WHAT THEY’D CONSIDER A SUCCESS
Making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinal (as in, winning a playoff round), Conference Final would be huge.
A top-six forward, preferably top-three.
Let’s say the Rangers managed to acquire that one player. Let’s say…gasp…they end up being the team who lands Ryan Kesler. How much more of a threat are they in the East?
Honestly, I’m surprised they’ve struggled as much as they have this season. We know Henrik Lundqvist is a better goalie than he’s shown so far this year, and nobody would be surprised to see him play out of his mind come playoffs. So…Lundqvist gets better, they add a little bit more scoring punch (and if it comes in the form of Kesler, a two-way top minutes player), and suddenly they look around and notice that outside of Boston and (maybe) Pittsburgh, they might be the next-best team in the East. Hmm.
Couldn’t you see them climb the East ladder, get a doable first round draw and be a tough out from there?
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