Like all good teams, the New York Rangers build toward windows and ride up and down through planned peaks and valleys in order to maximize their chances of winning the Stanley Cup. With some shrewd decisions to save cap space this summer, GM Jeff Gorton might have kept the window jammed open for one more year.
Over the past five seasons, the Rangers have enjoyed the longest window as top contenders in their 90-season franchise history. They topped 100 points three times, won the President's trophy in 2014-15 and fell just two points short in 2011-12, and have advanced at least as far as the Eastern Conference finals in three of the past five seasons.
However, that window might be closing. After a red-hot 16-3-2 start last season, the Rangers finished the balance of the schedule with a 30-24-7 record and were bounced in the first round in five games by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Soon, the Rangers might be facing their next valley, but without a Stanley Cup to show for it. Can they keep their window open long enough to address that deficiency?