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Are the New York Rangers on the Right Track for a Parade of Their Own?

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 06:  Derek Jeter # 2 and Jorge Posada # 20 of the New York Yankees celebrate on a float during the Yankees World Series Victory Parade on November 6, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Rob CristinoCorrespondent INovember 6, 2009

The New York City crowd was filled with excitement, while never-ending confetti fell from the sky during the New York Yankees' ticker-tape parade on Friday morning. The buzz generating from the crowd was incredible, as the Yankees rode down the Canyon of Heroes waving to the endless sea of supporters.

After watching the Yankees celebrate their 2009 World Series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, one can’t help but wonder when the next New York Rangers' Stanley Cup Parade might be.

How long will it take before the Rangers bring Lord Stanley back to New York?

It’s been quite a while since the Rangers have last hoisted the Stanley Cup over their heads, 15 years to be exact (going on 16 years, if the Rangers fail to capture the Cup in the 2009-10 season).

Do the Rangers currently have the right tools to compete with the top teams in the NHL?

General Manager Glen Sather reconstructed his team dramatically during the 2009 offseason, addressing the major need of the organization...the struggling offense. By adding scoring talent to the roster, it automatically helps the power play, which was another issue that needed to be tackled.

Sather showed his commitment to making the Rangers better by acquiring Marian Gaborik, one of the most prized free agents of this past offseason.

With Gaborik, the Rangers finally have that game changer, which they lacked all throughout the 2008-09 season. Gaborik has lived up to all of the hype and has had a successful debut in New York...so far. He is a dangerous force on the ice and can devastate any opponent with his lightning quick wrist shot and deadly speed.

Through 15 games, Gaborik has scored 12 goals and contributed nine assists, good for 21 points.

The Rangers have a nice mix of veterans and youth to go with one of the best goaltenders in the league in Henrik Lundqvist; however, despite this blend of talent, the Rangers still lack depth and experience in certain spots.

At first glance, the scoring depth doesn’t seem like an issue, especially not with the way Vaclav Prospal (19 points in 17 games) and Ales Kotalik (15 points in 17 games) have been producing to complement the play of Gaborik. However, looking beyond these three forwards, Chris Drury, Christopher Higgins, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky have all struggled at the start of the 2009-10 season.

Higgins, like Callahan and Dubinsky, has played hard, but he just has had trouble finishing, while Drury remains the biggest disappointment.

If Gaborik were to go down with a significant injury, the Rangers would be left with a huge hole in their lineup that can’t be filled by any current Ranger. Gaborik barely made it out of training camp alive and has already missed two games with a very minor lower-body injury. If he can’t stay healthy, the Rangers simply don’t have the scoring depth in their roster to fill his production.

When will the rest of this offense wake up and start to score on a consistent basis?

As far as the defense goes: the Rangers don't have the best defensemen in the league, but they are getting by with what they have.

Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden are not worth the contracts they were given, but they both have played considerably better at the start of the 2009-10 season as compared to last year.

Marc Staal and Dan Girardi get a lot of attention as being the top two defensemen in New York (at least last season they did), but the play of rookies Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto are slowly taking away their thunder. Can the two rookies continue to play at this heightened level?

The Rangers are currently 10-6-1 and stand in second place in the Atlantic Division with 21 points.

While the Rangers certainly have a better shot at bringing a Stanley Cup Championship to New York as compared to the New York Islanders, it still could be a while before Rangers fans see their Blueshirts marching down the Canyon of Heroes.

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