It’s the Friday of a long weekend, but it’s supposed to pour all weekend. That’s the definition of the upcoming Rangers season. There’s a lot of promise, but boy are we expecting them to stink. Ok, that’s a stretch, but after dealing with errant emails and tweets, I’m giving myself some freedom. Anywho, it’s the last day before September, which is the month hockey returns to us.
1. I know we are expecting the Rangers to stink, but I saw a betting line that had the Rangers around 75 points at the over/under. Bet the over on that all day, everyday. This forward group is still solid, and Henrik Lundqvist is still in net. This team probably won’t make the playoffs, but they aren’t a sub-75 point team in a 3-point-per-game league.
2. Dare I say that there is still a shot this club makes the playoffs? Remember when the Yankees were kinda in the playoff hunt in 2016, but still sold their assets anyway? I get the impression this Rangers team is going to be a little like that one. They have young talent to get excited for, but have enough skill where they can sneak up on you. I still expect them to sell at the deadline for #TheVision, but still this team isn’t as bad as folks make it out to be.
3. You guys know me, I love how we can better assess and predict team success with the stats that folks much smarter than I have been able to create. But one area I think we are woefully lacking is tying stats to a system, and using that system/stats connection to predict how a coaching change or a change in system impacts expectations. I’m not saying David Quinn’s defensive changes are going to magically make this team elite, but I’m expecting significant improvements in zone exits, defensive zone coverage, and cap control. Alain Vigneault’s offensive system was able to create prime chances regularly, so I wonder if there’s going to be a decrease in that type of offense this year. Perhaps more steady cycling and puck possession? Still, I’m intrigued to see where the stats have the Rangers this year.
4. A healthy Kevin Shattenkirk will have a massive impact on this team as well. He was on a 40 point pace on one knee in a terrible defensive system. Two knees and a system that doesn’t promote anarchy should stabilize the blue line.
5. Everyone is looking at Brady Skjei as a risk. I am not. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing Skjei-Shattenkirk as the top pairing. Good lord the passes. All the passes. Give me the passes.
6. I wonder what Lindy Ruff’s role will be?
7. That picture up top look familiar? It should. It’s the game that saved AV’s season. Yea, I’m a troll."Some Friday Thoughts",