We are a quarter of the way through the hockey season, and there may not be a more valuable player in the league than Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers have the most points in the NHL and their peerless goaltender is the reason. Lundqvist has allowed more than two goals in just two of his 18 starts and he's allowed only one goal in shootouts.
That last number is significant because the punchless Rangers find themselves in a lot of shootouts. They're scoring just 2.5 goals a game, 22nd in the NFL, which puts a ton of pressure on the shoulders of Lundqvist and their defense. Thus far they've been up to the task, but the Rangers can't sit back and feel good about trying to win every game 2-1. They need to do something to give them a chance when Lundqvist has a bad not or, worst case scenario, misses five games with an injury.
It looked like the line of Brandon Dubinsky, Aaron Voros and Nikolai Zherdev was blossoming into a dangerous scoring unit in October. They scored 13 goals in 13 games but have dropped to just three in eight this month. The Rangers have a knack for drawing power plays, but no success in cashing them in, which would signal a need for better work on the blue line. They've tried that in each of the last two seasons, though, and neither Sandis Ozolinsh nor Christian Backman made a difference.
That's the problem with hypothesizing moves for the Rangers to make in hopes of improving the offense. Tom Renney is a conservative, defense-first coach who wants the team to play exactly as they are playing right now. Everyone has to play defense, or they aren't going to see much, if any, ice time. High scorers like Marian Gaborik and Mats Sundin are on the market, but adding their salary would require cuts from the current roster, which would mean putting the stellar defense at risk.
They've got to do something, though. Preferably something other than just crossing their fingers and hoping that Lunqvist plays like a Hall of Famer every night.