It was not so long ago that stability and building from within were alien concepts when applied to the Rangers, but, oh boy, just look at them now.

They're just about all back, bolstered by the free-agent signing of blue-chip first-line center Brad Richards.

Every upper-echelon player on the roster with the exception of Richards and Marian Gaborik is a born-and-raised Ranger, with the Blueblood Line of Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and freshly minted captain Ryan Callahan ready to skate in lock step toward prominence.

The clouded prognosis regarding Marc Staal, who had been experiencing intermittent headaches since the summer in the aftermath of the concussion he sustained in Carolina last Feb. 22 on a hit from his older brother, Eric, hangs over the Rangers like, well, a dark cloud. It's one team with him at full strength; quite another without him.