Setting reasonable expectations

August 5, 2012, by

As the season (hopefully) draws nearer, there are a lot of excited Ranger fans, and for good reason. Following the Rick Nash trade, the Rangers finally have scoring depth to match their bottom-six depth. If Mike Sauer can find a way to get healthy for the start of the season –having made tremendous progress— then the Rangers defense could be one of the best in the league. Throw in Henrik Lundqvist, and you have a Rangers organization that is strong and balanced from top to bottom.

But therein lies the expectations. On Twitter the other day, there were many people tweeting to me that they expect Ryan Callahan to hit 70 points this year. They expect Chris Kreider to hit 60 points this year. If these are the expectations for two players that likely won’t be seeing much time with more than one of the big three (Nash, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards), then it scares me to think what the expectations are for those three. Based on the Cally expectations, are people expecting Nash, Gaborik, and Richards to each break 90 points? Perhaps 100 points?

Call me cautious, but it is likely best for all parties to assume that these players will likely hit their career averages in scoring. For Nash, that is likely going to be 32 goals and 60 points. Remember that Nash for his career has more goals than assists, and while that may be a product of who he has played with, setting the bar significantly higher can only lead to disappointment.

As for Richards and Gaborik, we don’t even know if they will be lining up with Nash when the Slovakian winger comes back from injury. The Rangers can create one super line, but it might benefit the organization to put Nash with Derek Stepan to create another dangerous scoring duo. It’s a more prudent assumption that Richards and Gaborik continue on pace with career averages as well.

Side note: Remember that while Gaborik is out, the opposition will focus on Richards and Nash defensively.

Looking at Kreider, let’s remember that if he hits 60 points, he’s almost guaranteed the Calder Trophy. Last year’s winner, Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche, didn’t even hit 60 points. Sure, the past winners (Jeff Skinner, Patrick Kane, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin) have all eclipsed 60 points, but is Kreider really on a level with those guys?

I think it’s fair that since I spent the entire post about setting the bar too high, that I might give some of my own expectations for these players:

  • Nash: 30+ goals, 65+ points
  • Richards: 25 goals, 70+ points
  • Gaborik: 25 goals, 50+ points (coming off a major shoulder injury)
  • Kreider: 15 goals, 30 points
  • Cally: 20 goals, 45 points

These numbers definitely stay on the conservative side of things, but I’m looking more into the adjustment period for Nash, and the fact that until Gaborik returns, teams can key in on Richards/Nash defensively, forcing the secondary scorers to step up. This is the bar set for my level of disappointment. If they fail to hit these numbers, I will consider it a bad season. If they exceed these numbers by 15%-20%, then I will be very happy. Otherwise, it’s just meeting expectations.

Of course, meeting expectations isn’t exactly all that bad, considering these numbers here. That’s 115 goals between 4 1/2 players (Gaborik counts as a half here in my logic, which makes sense in my head), and doesn’t even include Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, or Michael Del Zotto.


  1. agentsmith says:

    wow ur agenda h this peice was really to temper the cally/kreider expectations wasnt it?

  2. Zen says:

    The absolute best thing that could happen for Kreider’s career was the Rangers acquiring Rick Nash. Not only can Chris learn the power forward game from Rick, but it virtually guarantees that he won’t see even a smidge of defensive attention while on the ice. Watching Kreider in the playoffs showed us that he is lightning fast and is mature way beyond his years. My gut tells me the kid is going to be a star and it won’t take very long to happen.

  3. Walt says:

    Your expectations are set very low, and therefore interesting to say the least.

    Zen had a great point, Kreider will be the question mark, and I believe he will be as good, if not better than we all think. With Step, and possibly Nash upon Gabby’s return, this kid could lite it up for real. Lets face it, Richards, Gabby, with Callie, would make a great line. Step, Nash, and Kreider is a very close second line, if not equal. How many teams have the ability to shut down two lines? Then a third line of Boyle, Hags, and Pyatt could do their fair share of damage.

    Look, I agree, don’t set the bar in our minds too high, but I think that we will meet, and exceed your expectations. This, and the potential of an additional move by management that could make us even stronger, I see your numbers as way too low.

    • bmac says:

      This team has a lot more depth, amazing what 1 player can do. Good write up Walt, in terms of the lines I’d actually like to see Gabby with Stepan and Krieder while Nash skates with Richards and Callie. Stepan and Gaborik had really good chemistry last season. At a point they were leading the Rangers offense for a while there. With Krieder on that line they have great speed, Krieder has got the size and strengh, and will only get better.

  4. Lord Stanley says:

    I think those numbers are way conservative and frankly if true and on point would be a disaster as it’s not much better than out output last season. We need to caution that by adding more talent to the lineup we cannot sacrifice the fabric of our team identity which is pounding teams for 60 minutes and outworking everyone every night. We lost to NJ because of depth issues nothing else their 4th line outplayed ours plain and simple.

    • SUNY B says:

      You guys are missing the point (no pun intended).

      The goal is to win the Cup, not score the most goals during the season.

      Last season the main reason the Rangers fell short was they couldn’t break open any close games with a key goal, even when dominating play.

      Add just a few well-timed goals in the close playoff games and the Rangers would have won the first two series in 5 or 6, and had the energy to beat the Devils (who they were better than).

      It’s not how many, it’s when and this team now has the weapons to break open the close games. Let’s Go Rangers!

  5. Seahorse says:

    these expectations arent low and conservative, they are based upon career averages of players and the amount of minutes they will play. its not like the rangers became the caps of 2 years ago over night, they are still going to be a defensive team, probably less defensive, but still not relying on an offensive game.

    If you think kreider is gonna put up 70 points you’re kidding yourself. the average for that level of player is about 18 goals and 35 points for their first year and honestly i dont remember seeing him making any amazing passes in the playoffs. he will be a nash player that scores more than he passes. he will hit and get to the net and score, nothing wrong with that just thats what hes looked like so far

  6. Justin says:

    I tend to agree with you guys about the estimates being a little conservative, but I think it’s better to set the bar low, especially considering Gabby’s injury, Nash’s acclimation and the roster turnover this offseason. I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed, and thats all about the context of the expectations. Well done Dave.

  7. Dan says:

    If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  8. george says:

    Cally with 40 points… i dont see it. Cally has improved every season with an increase in points, even with injuries in the last 2 seasons. He will play top 6 minutes and i can see him getting 30 goals and 50 points if healthy. Last year, he got 29 goals and missed about 10 games so if he plays a full season i can see him hitting the 60 point mark.

    As for Kreider, it depends on his minutes. He played well with step (U20 linemate) and cally during the playoffs. I could also see him playing on the 3rd line as hagelin has some chemistry with Richards and gabby and that would push him to the 3rd line.

  9. Jeff P says:

    I have the same expectation of Cally and Kreider, which is 25+ goals and 50+ points.
    I don’t think it’s out of this world crazy, given Cally’s past couple of years and Kreider’s talent.

  10. rob sahm says:

    lets just go all out im expecting cally to put up jari kurri like numbers and mr. kreider to put up bossy numbers

  11. TxRanger says:

    Anisimov gets 30 goals, regardless of how many games are played.

  12. Rickyrants13 says:

    First off you cant use what Nash has done before because he was on crap teams and never had a great Center.

    With that said I believe he scores 40 plus. And if other teams have to put that much attention on Nash. And Krieder gets to roam free somewhat then I think his goals will top 30. His asst will more then likely stay low. Because he will be more then likely playing with Stepan and Cally.

    If all things are going right with the others I think Cally presses 30 again.

    All things aside if Gabby comes back and Richards and Nash are really clicking. Then put Gabbs on the 2nd line with Stepan and Krieder. And then move Cally to the 3rd line. And really blow the doors off.

    Nash, Richards, Hags
    Gabby, Stepan, Krieder
    Pyatt, Boyle, Cally

  13. MBN says:

    I think the Cally numbers are low, but he does play “all-out” and it is reasonable to expect him to miss some time during the season. That said, I still think he hits 50+ points, and nets 25 goals. Kreider, like someone mentioned above, did not show any special passing ability in the playoffs, so he may be one of those guys that scores more goals than assists. So I can see him in the 40+ point range, at this stage of his career.

    Stephan was left off, not sure why. he is the one I think also crosses the 60+ point barrier.