DefenseGoaltendingState of the Rangers

Best case/worst case scenarios for Ranger defensemen and goalies in 2013

How good can Ryan McDonagh be?


Aaron Johnson

Best case: Johnson is an adequate depth defender and is significantly better than Stu Bickel in spot duty.

Worst case: Johnson is no better than Bickel and the Rangers are back where they were last year if top-six blueliners get hurt.

Anton Stralman

Best case: Stralman continues to be an unsung hero for the Blueshirts and finally earns the attention he deserves with a standout campaign, including some gaudy power play numbers.

Worst case: Stralman’s hold on the #6 job loosens and Justin Falk pushes him for playing time.

Conor Allen

Best case: Allen beats out all the veterans to win the #7 D-man job after a terrific camp and pushes Anton Stralman for playing time.

Worst case: Allen spends the season in Hartford and challenges for a regular NHL job next season.

Dan Girardi

Best case: Girardi shows that he’s much more than John Tortorella’s shot-blocking crash dummy and returns to form after a down year.

Worst case: Girardi struggles with Vigneault’s more up-tempo style and continues to be a little too reckless with his body.

Dylan McIlrath

Best case: McIlrath avoids injuries and puts together a very solid year of development on both ends of the ice in Hartford.

Worst case: The injury bug strikes again and McIlrath’s development stalls after another setback.

John Moore

Best case: Moore proves to be the most important piece of the Marian Gaborik deal and surpasses Michael Del Zotto in the rearguard pecking order.

Worst case: Moore experiences some hiccups after a seamless transition to New York last spring – Vigneault can’t trust his third pairing.

Justin Falk

Best case: Falk fills in admirably when a top-six defender inevitably goes down and the Rangers are still able to roll six defensemen.

Worst case: Falk’s poor preseason play is a sign of things to come and he can’t be trusted to play meaningful minutes.

Marc Staal

Best case: Weaker vision doesn’t affect Staal and he puts two injury-filled years behind him as Staal returns to being the team’s top blueliner.

Worst case: Staal struggles to adjust to the speed of regular season games with his deteriorated sight and isn’t the player he once was.

Michael Del Zotto

Best case: Del Zotto thrives under Vigneault and emerges as one of the league’s better offensive defensemen while improving in his own zone.

Worst case: Del Zotto continues to take a step back for every step forward and isn’t an answer on the power play point.

Ryan McDonagh

Best case: McDonagh not only surpasses Girardi and Staal as the team’s consensus top blueliner, but he adds offense, is an All-Star, and draws some Norris Trophy consideration.

Worst case: McDonagh is still unable to harness his considerable offensive potential and ends up on the second pair.

Stu Bickel

Best case: Bickel is never needed on Broadway.

Worst case: More than two defenders are injured long-term and Bickel is again forced in over his head.


Henrik Lundqvist

Best case: Lundqvist wins his second Vezina Trophy and passes Mike Richter for first place on the all-time Rangers wins list.

Worst case: Lundqvist is still one of the top-five goalies in the league but (gasp) isn’t a Vezina finalist.

Martin Biron

Best case: Biron shows everyone the Rangers made the right choice by cutting Johan Hedberg loose with 20 solid starts.

Worst case: Whatever personal issue kept Biron out of camp the first few days lingers into the season and Biron isn’t able to focus on hockey.

Show More


  1. The sky is the limited for John Moore, watching him play in pre-season he has a jump in his stride and a lethal shot. His acquisition was a steal of a deal.

Back to top button