With the Sharks win over the Predators in Game 7 on Thursday, San Jose will face St. Louis in the Western Conference Final.
Pierre LeBrun sent out three tweets that, while not referencing them, have an indirect connection to the Rangers and the position they are currently in:
- Observation from a rival GM: Blues/Sharks both examples of patience and perseverance, so many wanted them to blow up core but they did not.
- There were changes, SJ has more depth now, added key secondary players. Blues made important trade last summer. But the core is the core...
- Which is all to say, in a parity-filled, salary cap league, knowing when to stick with it or blow it up is a tough call. (Memo to Caps).
Since 2011-12, the Sharks have had a consistent core including Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns, Justin Braun and Logan Couture.
The Sharks fired head coach Todd McLellan after missing the playoffs last season and hired Pete DeBoer. In 2014 the Sharks blew a 3-0 series lead to LA in the first round.
The Sharks also brought in Martin Jones to replace Antti Niemi in goal.
At various points over the last few years there have been rumors about possible moves for Thornton or Marleau but both have no-move clauses.
Since 2011-12, the Blues have had a mostly consistent core including Brian Elliott, David Backes, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Patrik Berglund, Alex Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jay Bouwmeester and Jaden Shwartz.
The Blues traded TJ Oshie for Troy Brouwer this past summer and have Ken Hitchcock on a one-year deal.
Prior to this season, the Blues had lost in the first round three straight seasons.
The Rangers have spoken about making changes to the core
Adam Rotter: None of this is scientific and players have been added and subtracted to each core in the past few years, but when talk of blowing things up starts, some of the players above were the ones being talked about.
Does this relate to the Rangers? In some ways yes, and in some ways no. You can say that the Sharks, in some way, are like the 2013-14 Rangers after firing their coach, adding good depth, making a couple of key moves and making a run. You could also say that despite the Sharks past struggles, their core with Thornton, Pavelski, Couture, Burns and Vlasic is superior to the Rangers core.
The Blues are interesting because while they added guys like Stastny, Lehtera and developed Parayko, most of their guys have been in varying roles since Hitchcock first came to the team. At the same time, they blew a 3-1 lead in the first round this year and were tied in the third period of Game 7 before winning.
This isn't an apples to apples comparison between the core of the Rangers and the cores on St. Louis and San Jose. The real question seems to be whether the Rangers think that they have an inner core, like San Jose and St. Louis had/have, to build around and stay competitive (McDonagh, Lundqvist and maybe Stepan) while moving other core players (maybe Girardi, Staal, Nash or Kreider) out. That is what we will see this summer.