Why the Rangers will be better next seasonJuly 9, 2014, by
Apparently during the first week of July, the Rangers got worse. On paper that may be true given their losses during free agency but too much emphasis is placed on old clichés such as ‘the grass is greener on the other side’.
Didn’t the Rangers just get to the Stanley Cup final? It’s pretty green in NY right now too. People underestimate the potential of the current roster. Here are a few key reasons why the Rangers will be better next year, despite the hits endured in free agency.
Everyone’s favourite whipping boy in the playoff run, Nash cannot be as snake bitten as he was during the postseason run. He also missed a chunk of time during the regular season and yet still led the team in goals and was third in the league in game winners. Assume for a moment Nash remains healthy and has an uninterrupted season. Assume for a moment he has a full year opposite a maturing Chris Kreider. Nash will return to his goal scoring form and make the Rangers more dangerous offensively.
Had the Rangers beaten LA to the Cup, all bets would have been off – the King would have also been Brian Leetch’s heir to the NY, Conn Smythe thrown. All of this masks the fact, that Henrik Lundqvist was rather ordinary for a large part of the regular season and needed admirable support from an unknown rookie Cam Talbot before regaining his regal self. There’s no reason to suggest anything other than a return to his dominant best when next year begins – it’s what the NHL is accustomed to from Lundqvist.
Old, Wiser, Better
Carl Hagelin became a two way stud in the playoffs. Chris Kreider was almost a point/game playoff performer immediately after returning from an extended period off the ice. Mats Zuccarello has become a legitimate offensive threat on a contending team and Derick Brassard again proved he can perform when it matters most.
The Rangers still have weapons who have yet to max their potential and all four forwards’ trajectories are pointing upwards. Mere sustained progression from the likes of Kreider and Brassard will accommodate for the loss of Benoit Pouliot to Edmonton.
Familiarity breeds success
Remember the Rangers start to the 2013-2014 season? Most fans have tried to forget the ugly start. A long road trip, an interrupted camp, injuries and hold outs, and a new system and coaching staff. Well, the Rangers have a much easier start to the year thanks to no unnecessary road trip but most of all they return the same coaching staff led by Alain Vigneault. With the core of the team intact the Rangers will be much better equipped to be ready for day 1 and in Alain Vigneault they have a coach motivated to take one further step. No in-house issues for next years edition of the Rangers to contend with should mean a quicker start.
The fact that the Rangers likely return several elite players who ‘underperformed’ last year and face much less acclimatisation will help this team throughout the year. No irreplaceable players were lost, all the core, elite performers were kept. A predominantly young team, with the best goaltender in the world? There’s still plenty of reason for optimism in the New York Rangers."Why the Rangers will be better next season",