State of the Rangers

A new season is upon us

A new NY Rangers season is here

The New York Rangers begin another season today, which will be our 10th full season (we started in December of the 2008-2009 season) here at BSB. This season has a different feel though. For the first 8.5 seasons we covered, the Rangers were expected to compete. It wasn’t until the rebuild letter that the focus shifted to something other than building a win-now team.

Last season was rough, the first full rebuild season on Broadway in a generation. The Rangers were expected to be bad last season, and that they were. But believe it or not, most people accepted this in stride. Sure there were concerns that popped up, but the on-ice product was largely evaluated for David Quinn’s systems and growth and development of the prospects.

This season feels different. The hype surrounding the Rangers is there. In are Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Kaapo Kakko, and Adam Fox to add significant skill to the top core players of the team. Lias Andersson had himself a preseason and has shown significant improvement. This is the second season for Brett Howden, who is looking to show that his hot start last season wasn’t a blip as he rounds out his game. Brendan Lemieux gets his first full season too, as fans hope he is more Sean Avery Part One than Sean Avery Part Two.

Waiting in the wings are Vitali Kravtsov and Filip Chytil. Both are expected to be with the Rangers before the calendar year ends, if not sooner.

Yet with the hype comes a bit of realism. We saw in the preseason what the Rangers can do offensively, especially on that top line and top powerplay unit. It is expected that this team, while top heavy, will be able to score in droves. It is also expected that the Rangers, who addressed their right defense issues but still have left defense concerns, will still have issues defending and limiting shots against. The fun phrase to use is “we may win but I may die.” They may win, they may not, but we can expect some back and forth hockey to keep us entertained.

Even though the Rangers are expected to be on the outside of the playoffs looking in, wild cards drive nearly every facet of their success this season. No one knows what Kakko and Fox will do as rookies. No one knows what Andersson, Howden, and Lemieux can do as second year pros. No one knows what Chytil or Kravtov will do when they get called up. No one knows how quickly someone replaces Ryan Strome as the 2C. It is very difficult to predict these unknowns. This plays into the hype that perhaps the Rangers can sneak into the playoffs, the best case scenario for even the most extreme optimists.

The pent up excitement is palpable. You can feel it. Everyone is ready for this season to get underway. No matter how the Rangers finish in the standings, the feeling is that this is going to be a fun season, and a step in the right direction.

"A new season is upon us", 4 out of 5 based on 16 ratings.
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9 Comments

  1. I am excited about the new season, but very afraid to get my hopes up. I want them to be a playoff team, I really do, but I fear they will fall short of my expectations.

    I expect a strong effort from this team from top to bottom. The defense is still suspect in my eyes. I am looking at 89-95 points.

  2. Hopefully the Rangers playing so many Veterans over kids is with the purpose of inflating their value so they can be traded for more assets to insulate the Rangers from our upcoming salary cap crunch thanks to dead cap space, and we can insert the kids into the line up after the trade deadline. If we eek into a wild card that would be exceeding expectations.

  3. What if, just what if Strome can be an effective 2C… He was a #5 pick that had success and then got traded to a terrible Oiler situation then had success last year. SHooting % is not sustainable but with quality wingers maybe he becomes a solid 2C. Took years for Hayes to develop and it’s not like Strome is 30+.

    1. In his first full season, Strome scored 50 points and was +23. And he is still young. Possibly he can be quite good. Success for the Rangers does not require Chityl to wrest the 2C spot from Strome. It requires Chityl to center a feared third line with Kravtsov on one wing.

  4. I expect them to play hard and fast every game. I hope that’s enough to get them into the playoffs, but I won’t cry if it doesn’t. If they don’t make the playoffs, I hope for good luck in the lottery again. If they do, LGR!

  5. No idea where this season ends up, but I expect significant improvement from last year if only because the Rangers are more focused on a quality product than simply playing kids. DQ seems determined, at least at first, to play kids where they belong.

    The defense will be interesting. Question 1: Do the Rangers have a real first pair now? Trouba was not really a first pair guy in Winnipeg and Skjei has never really played at that level. I think the chances are good that the answer is yes, but it is far from certain. Much unlike last year when the only problem on defense was absence of an hint of a true first pair.

    Question 2: Who will emerge to fill the role of #2 RH defenseman on the PK? I think in Game 1, DQ will use Brendan Smith (note the pairing of Smith on the fourth line with top penalty killer Andersson). However, that seems like a very short term solution. Either Fox or ADA has to step up here.

    Question 3: Is Libor Hajek ready? Again, signs look good. If Hajek, Fox, ADA live up to expectations, the Rangers will be solid on D (Marc Staal can be counted on to continue to hold up his end I think and if not Brendan Smith can play 3LD).

    Of course, the defense will continue to look bad if they get no help from the forward group in clearing the zone as in last year and Lundqvist remains in goal, but DQ seems to be addressing these issues.

  6. How crazy is it being excited for power plays… the first unit is @$#$% SICK!!!!

    LGR!!!

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