Rangers Want More From Their Forwards

After top three, the Rangers forwards have underwhelmed through five games

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Rangers put their forwards on notice this weekend.

    Some of Rangers general manager Glen Sather's worst moves have involved former Devils, but that didn't stop him from signing free agent forward Jason Arnott over the weekend. 

    It's not a move that will go down on his greatest hits, but for very different reasons than the ones that sank the moves for Scott Gomez and Bobby Holik. Arnott failed a physical and the Rangers rescinded their offer, one that Sather said Monday would not be re-extended to veteran. 

    Sather did say that the Rangers could look elsewhere for help on the front line, something that should come as no surprise after the Arnott move. When a team's signing a 40-year-old four games into a season that will be over in the blink of an eye, it's a pretty clear sign that they are dissatisfied with the production of their forwards. 

    The funny part of that very reasonable dissatisfaction is that the Rangers have actually gotten exactly what they need from the top three forwards on their depth chart. Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash dominated the third period on Saturday against Toronto, rallying the team to a 5-2 win after trailing 2-1 after the first 40 minutes of hockey. 

    Nash, in particular, has been just what the doctor ordered and there's been no sign that his presence is taking anything away from the spirited play that the team showed last season. He wins battles in the corner, outworks defenders on the puck and gets shots on the net all night.

    No, the problem is that the other nine forwards aren't getting the job done in the same way. It's a broad brush and there are examples of these guys doing the job, Taylor Pyatt in particular, but it hasn't been as consistent as it was last season.

    Almost every night of the season, we've heard John Tortorella level complaints about the play of the forwards and the attempted Arnott signing was the tangible proof that they aren't seeing what they want from the current roster. There are excuses -- the lockout, Chris Kreider's ankle injury -- but they aren't worth much when one of the things lacking seems to be the extra effort that made all the difference last year. 

    Arnott won't be wearing a Ranger sweater, but the message is the same as if he had arrived in the locker room this weekend. Get better or get replaced. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.