It was almost a year and a half ago when the New York Rangers released a detailed letter to their fans that explained the rebuild process which was about to begin. The letter promised fans that despite the familiar faces who would depart, the future would be bright and the wait would be worth it.
Well, after a successful start to the offseason, the Rangers are on their way to delivering their promise.
The Rangers signed the biggest free agent on the market in Artemi Panarin, putting New York on a fast-track back to the postseason.
Panarin turned down more lucrative deals in order to play for the Rangers, so he probably saw the bright future that awaits the organization, and clearly, he wanted in.
The Rangers built a young core via the draft and trade market, and will now feature phenom Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox on their roster to go along with the newly signed Panarin.
With a revamped roster, this Rangers team is ready to compete for a playoff spot next season, much earlier than anyone thought possible.
New York's past playoff runs fell short, mainly because of the absence of an offensive superstar, a piece that the majority of Stanley Cup winners have. The Rangers added that piece on the opening day of free agency, and now will rely on Panarin and the glut of young prospects to take them back to the level of success they had sustained for many years.
Although the blueshirts may be a couple of defensive changes away from cup contention, the addition of Panarin sends the message to all Eastern Conference teams that the Rangers are back and will be a tough team to play against next season.