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Musings: The Rangers open up in the desert

How will Zuccarello fare this season?

How will Zuccarello fare this season?

Today it all begins. The Rangers open their season today as the season, tone setting, nine game road trip gets under way tonight in Phoenix. Let’s jump straight into the first Musings of the new season.

It will be interesting to see how Derek Stepan starts tonight. Will he be a step behind? Will the lack of reps, preseason games, training camp, and a new system implementation hurt him? He’s going to be under the microscope and has a lot of responsibility to shoulder.

A player that could thrive under Alain Vigneault’s (apparently) more open system could be Michael Del Zotto. Like so many Rangers, this is a big year for him. Is he finally going to put it all together and be a consistent offensive threat from the blueline? Or does he become expendable after this season? A good year from MDZ likely means an improved Rangers PP.

Most unpredictable player heading into tonight? Mats Zuccarello.

Jesper Fast has nothing to lose. People were pencilling in Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, or Chris Kreider into the opening night roster; but it’s Fast that gets the gig to begin the year. With Hagelin and Callahan out, but expected back soon, Fast is basically auditioning. With no huge expectancy but a lot of excitement about his development, Fast has a chance to play fear free and go gung-ho. He’ll be one to watch to see how he adapts.

The Coyotes have a good looking powerplay with Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mike Ribeiro, Shane Doan and the pesky Radim Vrbata. As is often the case, good discipline and keeping their PP off the board could be huge tonight. The Rangers struggled on special teams in the preseason, it will be important to just cope while Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin recover.

I’m intrigued to see J.T. Miller in action tonight. I don’t like him down on the fourth line but he has a chance to move up the depth chart if he carries on his preseason form.

Initial league observations: The Toronto Maple Leafs have started well, something they usually do. The Capitals look like they will concede a lot this year. The Flyers won’t be a threat in the Metropolitan division.

Questions Time:

  • Who will produce more this season: Brassard or Richards?
  • Who will be the Rangers top producing defenseman?
  • First to 20: Callahan, Hagelin or Brassard?
  • How many wins will Lundqvist get this season?
  • What record would you be happy with from the 9 game road trip?

Opening night prediction: Rangers win 3-2 in overtime. Brassard, Richards and Staal with the goals, special teams produce.

Lets go Rangers!

19 Responses to “Musings: The Rangers open up in the desert”

  1. Sally says:

    1. Brassard
    2. Staal
    3. Callahan
    4.55
    5. 4-4-1

  2. Spozo says:

    One thing to consider with Hank. Tortorella penned Hanks magic number at about 65 starts. That’s a number many feel comfortable with. The big wrench in this monkey is the Olympics. Lunqvist is going to start every game Sweden plays so if he gets 65 starts, on top of the Olympics? That adds up to a lot of games played before the playoffs even start. When he was starting 70+ games he was visibly tired come the postseason.

    Does AV take this in to account and try to limit Hank to 60 Or 55 games to try and keep him fresh for the playoffs?

    Brassard
    Staal
    Cally
    35
    5-4

  3. Tyler says:

    1) Brassard
    2) McDonagh
    3) Callahan(brass close behind him)
    4) 37 Wins for the King
    5) 5-3-1

  4. Tyler says:

    I also wanna say that i believe zuccerello will thrive this season for the rangers and see plenty of time with our quality players, eclipsing 50 pts

  5. becky says:

    YESS QUESTION TIME!

    1- Brass
    2- Mac, but I feel like Moore will keep improving as the year goes on
    3- Cally
    4- 39
    5- happy? 9-0-0.. but I’ll take 4-4-1

  6. Dave says:

    1. Richards
    2. Staal
    3. Callahan
    4. 38
    5. I think they go 6-3, will be happy with 4-4-1.

  7. Ren says:

    1. Richards
    2. Del Zotto: He has led the Rangers D in points every full season he has played, I think McDonagh would surpass him if given the opportunity though.
    3. Brass: Cally will be first to 20goals though.
    4. 37
    5. 5-4: I think we should be happy if they go above .500; it is a long trip, they are playing good teams and learning a new system.

  8. Todd says:

    1- Brass
    2- McDonagh
    3- Brassard
    4- 37
    5- 4-5 anything worse is REALLY bad news.

  9. Chris.C says:

    1. Who will produce more this season: Brassard or Richards? Brassard

    2. Who will be the Rangers top producing defenseman? John Moore, kid seems to have it all

    3. First to 20: Callahan, Hagelin or Brassard? Brassard

    4. How many wins will Lundqvist get this season? 20-25 Maybe, Hank has too much $$ on his mind and Gold Medal.

    5. What record would you be happy with from the 9 game road trip? With this Roster a perfect 9-0. However with watching the preseason it will be 3-6

  10. Dave says:

    Seriously? I’m the only one that believes in Brad Richards?

  11. Gary says:

    1. Richards
    2. McD
    3. Brassard
    4. 36
    5. 6-3

  12. Walt says:

    Brassard by a wide margin
    McD, with J Moore a close second
    Brassard, Callie 2nd but not by much
    Hank wins some 38 games this season
    6-3, 5-4 would be good.

  13. KennyJ says:

    Richards (comeback year and he shines in post-season)
    Del Zotto (Mcd and JMoore right behind him)
    Brass and Callie get to 20 on same night (Hags produces as well)
    Hank 38 and Marty contributes 12. hundred point year for us.
    4-5 (new system, injuries, Step still a step behind)

  14. Geir Andre says:

    “Most unpredictable player heading into tonight? Mats Zuccarello.”

    Whats your thougths on Zuccs performance opening night?

  15. bitterzen says:

    Boy we looked like crap last night. I can see the excuses soon to follow: new coach, new system, blah blah blah. Maybe we are somewhat over rated. The only bright spot in yesterdays game in Phoenix was the Canucks also lost.