Projecting the top six for the Rangers lineup

The Rangers are entering this season with very few jobs secured, something that hasn’t happened in quite some time. We have an idea of who will make the roster, but figuring out the lines and pairs is something that is still up in the air. When it comes to the top six forwards, we again have an idea of who will slide into those roles, but you never really know how David Quinn will arrange his lines.

We do know that Mika Zibanejad will be the 1C. We do know that Artemi Panarin will be the 1RW. Two of the wingers in the top six will be Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich. After that, we have a competition between Filip Chytil, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko, and Vitali Kravtsov for the remaining spots.

The smart money is on Kakko taking a top-six role, and also on Kravtsov lining up in a third line role. Chytil is penciled in as the 2C right now. Most fan projections have the top six looking something like this:


Now there are certainly questions about splitting up Zibanejad/Panarin, about how that second line is going to work without some veteran presence on the line. But for the most part, that’s what it will look like. Personally, I like the idea of keeping KZB together and then putting Panarin with Chytil and Kakko, but that’s just me.

But if Chytil doesn’t have that 2C role locked down, we could see Strome in that role, knocking Chytil down with likely Kravtsov on the third line. Then again, Buchnevich may find himself out of the top-six as well, depending on his performance at camp, along with others.

It’s a fun situation for us fans, something we haven’t really had since the post-Jagr days. The lineup is going to be fluid throughout most of camp and probably into November, and that’s a good thing. There is so much talent up front, we know the Rangers are going to be fun to watch this season.

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  • Don’t Panarin and Kreider both play left? What is the chance that Kreider starts the season elsewhere? If he does start as a Ranger what’s the chance he finishes the season in NYC? I wonder if the combo below optimizes all six forwards’ potential for success? If Kreider is gone for a pick and/or prospect still in development–who takes his spot? Strome? Names? Sign Valeri Nichushkin to a PTO and if he does well a low one year deal? Ask Jagr to come out of retirement?


    • Panarin is a righty if I’m not mistaken which makes him that much more valuable. He will open things up on the PP for everyone else. Rangers have not had much of a threat from the left side on the PP last 10 years. You can’t score consistently on the nan advantage with all lefties.

  • My second attempt at posting today, so here goes.

    KZB, worked well, leave well enough alone. If they stop clicking we make a change.

    Panarin, Chytil, Kkakko. Veteran leadership, good teacher in Breadman, who could move up if need be. He will be a stabilizing factor for the kids.

    Strome, Andersson/Howden, Kravtsov, young line with a proven steady veteran to help teach the kids, and take the pressure off of them.

    Lemieux, Andersson/Howden, Fast, shut down fourth line that could also score.

    This is going to be a fun season watching these kids develop into future stars.


    • Fact: Over the last two years, the Rangers have scored very few goals at even strength when KZB are on the ice together.

      I simply don’t understand the fascination.

      • Fact, Buch seemed to get into a groove and came into his own. Reason enough to start with them at first. Like I stated they can be changed if they stop scoring!!!!!!!!!

        • Opinion: You should probably get over the KBZ line. Quinn didn’t trust them and most likely won’t trust them again this year. Panarin playing with a center who doesn’t have everything under control would hamstring this team in matchups. Shutdown line vs Zib and and literally anyone vs Chytil or Howden. If I was the other team than that’s called exploiting the NYR’s.

          Fact: The top paid winger will not be playing with a none established top 6 centerman. Panarin picked the Rangers to show off his brand, so expect him to team up with Zib. Kakko has has made his wishes pretty clear to the media on where he wants and expects to play. Quinn will treat the prize corner stone prospect to play with this teams only top 6 center.

          Fact: Any coaches around the league would welcome that 4th line matchup with Lias down the middle. It’s going to be a long season and another terrible 5v5 year for this team. Krieder will be gone by the deadline, no need to worry about his place in this lineup.

        • The word “fact” actually has a meaning. I would say that any sentence that begins “Fact, Buch seemed to” is wrong. “Seemed to” screams opinion. That Buch came on at the end of the season is an impression many here have – a perception I won’t take a position on.

          As for KZB, they cannot stop scoring if they never start scoring. I am not saying KZB might not ultimately prove to be a very good line. One would think three very good players could mesh, and Buch hopefully will evolve into a very good player. What bothers me is the presumption that this is a line that has already had success when in fact it has been noticeably less successful than the derided KZF line.

          Incidentally, at even strength, KZB was on the ice for roughly one goal for every thirty minutes of ice time. And when Buch was supposedly putting it all together, Kreider was not even there – hardly evidence that he meshes with Kreider.

      • I agree. I like panarin-zib-kakko and Kreider-chytil-Buch. Some will argue it’s too soon to give Kakko first line minutes. I would like to see him there at least in the beginning to show him what the expectations are. Him and buch could be easily flipped if need be.
        Is everyone forgetting about Names??

    • Agree with you Walt. To add Panarin and Zib are both rightie shots. You need to spread the righties around a little. Along with the talent.

      • And that’s a fact!!!!!!!!

        Now our opinions will be dissected by the site surgeons, LOL………

        • C’mon Walt.

          I might be forgetting something but basically content consists of facts, perception, opinion and things that are just not true. What makes a site like this fun are the second and third things – perceptions and opinion. Facts are sort of boring and really just serve as a jumping off point.

          How good is Ryan Lindgren? We don’t really have any clear facts. But your perception from watching him is that he will be good and it will be interesting to see if you are right. The views of those who have seen some of these young players for example is definitely interesting to those of us who have not.

          But sometimes I get annoyed when a number of people repeat ad infinitum something that is contrary to fact.

  • I hope:


    Why? Panarin is a possession beast, plays like a center, and would take pressure off of Chytil and Kakko.

    I got a Panarin jersey for my birthday, very excited!!

  • I’m not wishing for this but, I think before the pre-season is over Quinn will be so exasperated with Chytil at center that someone else will be centering that line (Names, maybe). Chytil might need another year before he will be a competent #2 center. But then I will be interested in the third line of:

    Chytil- Howden/Lias – Kravtsov

    Top 9 looks good too!

  • I don’t see Chytil as 2C right now, he is not yet responsible defensively. I see him as a left or right forward in 2nd or 3rd line.

    Surprisingly no offer sheets for the great Tony DeAngelo, all the GMs in NHL are blind.

    • From the few clips I’ve seen, Chytil looks more grown up this year, more serious, and without the “deer in the headlights” expression. Hopefully, that means he’s ready to step up. Also, I’m surprised not to see any offer sheets for our other indispensable player, Bruising Brendan LeMieux.

  • I’m having some technical issues with the site folks. Hence the change in theme for the time being. I’m working on it, but it may take a few days.

    I can’t really post anything new – but I’ll try. There’s a database issue right now.

  • Panarin and Zibby on first line. Don’t really care who else is there, but would like to see one of the rookies.

    • Maybe, but I just hope that doesn’t hurt the second line more than it helps the first. Mika and Arty are both offensive drivers. Panarin regularly provides more assists than goals, as does Zibanejad. It might be better to have each of them driving a different line. Say, Kreider-Zib-Kakko and Panarin-Chyil-Buch, or IF Kreider is traded, Buch-Zib-Kakko and Panarin-Chytil-Kravstov.

  • There are all sorts of possible combinations out there. I suspect Chytil will start out the #2C but I doubt he will play the whole season there … then again nothing is etched in stone aside from the fact that Trouba, Zib and Panarin will play the most at even strength and on the PP. Best to just sit back and watch the competition unfold, let’s see who wants it more.

  • Enforcer Michael Haley has been signed by the Rangers on a PTO

    Rick Carpiniello
    Hearing the Rangers have invited Micheal Haley to training camp. Could make for some entertaining preseason games. #NYR

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