How can the Rangers improve?

Following yesterday's loss to Washington, the New York Rangers have dropped two straight -- and five of their last seven. They now sit tenuously in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, and they're not exactly heading in the right direction at the moment. This group was projected by many to compete for the Stanley Cup this season -- and now they're in the middle of a tight race just to keep playing past April.

Of course, the Los Angeles Kings reminded everyone last year that simply making the postseason is the key. From there, anything can happen. So what can New York do to ensure it finds itself in the playoffs this year? Our own Craig Custance looked at a few of the options that have been floated around, noting that this group is actually built more for a playoff run than for regular season success. To that end, they may not want to shake things up too much. And the notion that John Tortorella's job is in jeopardy seems unlikely for now.

So, if they were to make a deal, where might they look? Help along the blue line would be nice, which is why Dan Boyle's name keeps coming up. And the return of Marc Staal -- whenever it happens -- will obviously help immensely. Custance also notes that someone like Ian White could be a very nice addition for this group. And he has more on a couple other names that have been the focus of speculation lately.

Craig Custance

Trying to find the right fit

"The Rangers have kicked the tires in the past on Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle, but as of this weekend, there's no serious talk of a deal. And he'd be another left-handed shot, which isn't the need. If New York really wanted to be aggressive, it could make a run at Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien, a 6-foot-5 right-handed shot who is capable of running the power play. The Jets aren't necessarily shopping him but would certainly listen to a serious offer. But then you're locking yourself into a defenseman who comes with a cap hit of $5.2 million through the 2015-16 season who is also a player some still believe is miscast as a defenseman but whose salary has locked him into that role."