The short answer to that question in my opinion, a lot!
First problem and most obvious, they aren't scoring. Their Power Play is the worst in the league.
Second, the Rangers had the #1 pick in the draft and they used it on the consensus #1 pick, Alexis Lafreniere. You would think that's a good thing, but people and pundits are often stupid and wrong and don't listen to me enough. I was never sold on the kid. Listen, sometimes there are no-doubt talents, like a Connor McDavid. This kid is no damn Connor McDavid. Personally, with a #1 pick, if there is an elite Center of D-man there, you take that over a winger, they're more valuable. I told my pal SULLY before he past as well as my pal Hotch the Rangers should take Quinton Byfield. 18 year old Center, 6'4" 214 pounds. I told my daughter the same thing when we sat down to watch the draft, as she wanted to see where Erie Otters D-man Jamie Drysdale went.
Byfield may be a year away from the NHL, but the team lacks depth at Center and this kid has elite skills and skating ability to go along with his size. And from the way Lafreniere has played so far, he looks like he's a year away from the NHL.
Next issue, defensemen. Originally thought to be a position of strength and depth on this roster, not just by us fans, but also the front office as well as NHL pundits, it has shown itself to be lacking depth, and not that fucking good. I hated Marc Staal forever. The Rangers finally get rid of the slow, overrated, overpaid, bum and replace him with slower, overpaid, bum, Jack Johnson. Johnson too was overrated at one time, but people figured that out, except the Rangers I guess. For a defenseman, dude's defense is horrendous! The Rangers also have Overpaid Brendan Smith who's defense is so shitty, they have tried to use him as a winger the last couple times, also showing a lack of depth in their forwards. Smith is playing more than Johnson and actually plays better, but they are both deadweight.
Rangers fans and the front have been hanging our hats on the number of young, talented defenseman in the system. Adam Fox (23) and Ryan Lindgren (23) stepped up last season becoming the teams top pairing. Libor Hajek was the key piece in a trade that sent then captain, Ryan McDonough and JT Miller to Tampa Bay. Hajek was so disappointing last year, he was sent down then loaned to a Czech team. He's back now after injuries and COVID issues, and is doing ok. Then there is 6'5" K'Andre Miller, who has shown flashes of brilliance and his game feels like a left-handed Seth Jones. He's settling in well, but too often is paired with a hack like Smith.
Then we get to Tony Deangelo. At 25 the Rangers are the 3 organization he's been with. He's been a locker room headache everywhere he has gone, as well as on the ice. He was suspended in both juniors and the NHL for abuse of officials. He was also suspended twice in juniors for violating the Ontario Hockey League's policy for keeping "homophobic, racist and sexist language out of the game."
Along with Fox, the Rangers were excited about having two offensive-minded, puck-moving, right-handed defensemen. But there's a problem. DeAngelo is an asshole and he can't stop himself from being an asshole. He spent most of the off-season on social media, getting into it with people, including challenging a fan to a fight. He vocally supported Trump, mocked mask wearing, played down COVID, even played the COVID is a "liberal hoax" card and bashed Black Lives Matter. He was a loud supporter of the "Blue Lives Matter" crowd, you know, the same crowd that attacked Capitol Police and killed one of them. So shit probably got uncomfortable as fuck when he was paired with K'Andre Miller. (Miller is black, if you didn't know.)
When Miller scored his first NHL goal, DeAngelo snatched up the puck. This is a customary thing. Another player on the ice grabs the puck and gives it to the equipment guy who marks it and the rookie is presented with it after the game. The Rangers have made a point to share a picture on social media of players showing their milestone puck after the game it happened in. There was no picture of Miller with his puck, and it was a few days before anyone knew where the puck was. It's since been reported that the equipment manger is having it framed for Miller, but where was it that first night? That question along with lots of talk about the team not being happy with how DeAngelo had been treating Miller throughout the season, has had many speculating DeAngelo was holding it back with no one really answering why the traditional photo wasn't done before framing.
Then right after that, DeAngelo and his 2 year, $9.6 million contract were put on waivers and we learned DeAngelo started a post 5-4 OT loss, physical altercation with Goalie Alexander Georgiev. The Rangers had enough. No one claimed DeAngelo with his high price-tag and history of being a locker room cancer. The Rangers have made it clear, he's not coming back and are trying to trade him, but market isn't really strong for racist, pro-Trump, assholes who have been more productive on social media than they are on the ice.
Now, today news broke that Rangers star Artemi Panarin is taking two week leave from the team. Why the hell is the Rangers' best scoring threat taking a leave? Because for two years now, when asked questions about how things are in his home country of Russia, Panarin has spoken out against Putin and last month he showed support on Instagram for Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalty, who has been poisoned and imprisoned by Putin.
In a 2019 interview, Panarin said, "I think that the people who hush up the problems are more like foreign agents than those who talk about them. If I think about problems, I am coming from a positive place, I want to change something, to have people live better. I don't want to see retirees begging."
What an awful thing to say! How dare he care about people. Fuck Putin!
Sunday, a smear campaign started in Russian newspapers, (where Panarin still has family) including a story from his former KHL coach, Andrei Nazarov, accusing Panarin of beating up a female in 2011 while in Latvia. Then that people were paid off to make it go away. Nazarov has in the past publicly criticized Panarin for his outspoken beliefs about Putin.
No one is saying if there are security concerns for Panarin or if his family back in Russia are taking threats, but based on Putin's history, there is plenty to worry about.
Today the Rangers released this statement:
"Artemi vehemently and unequivocally denies any and all allegations in this fabricated story. This is clearly an intimidation tactic being used against him for being outspoken on recent political events. Artemi is obviously shaken and concerned and will take some time away from the team. The Rangers fully support Artemi and will work with him to identify the source of these unfounded allegations."
Again, I say Fuck Putin!