The New York Rangers have made the playoffs in 12 of the last 13 years, yet I’ve never taken them seriously as a Stanley Cup contender.
Even when they made it to the Finals in 2014, I didn’t take them seriously.
I’m not entirely sure why this is. Maybe it’s because I look at their roster and never see an obvious superstar, outside of Henrik Lundqvist in net (though he’s past his prime). It’s a collection of good players, but not necessarily “great” players.
The Rangers don’t seem to have that “top” forward.
Mats Zuccarello – I didn’t know he was 30-years-old until right now. He’s been a solid point producer for the team over the last four seasons. He seems to plateau around the 60-point mark which isn’t too shabby.
Mika Zibanejad – The 6th overall pick from the 2011 Draft has 13 points in 13 games this season. I thought Ottawa gave up on him too quickly when they traded him away two years ago. It looks like he’s in for a career year. My guess is somewhere between 60-70 points if he stays healthy.
J.T. Miller/Chris Kreider/Kevin Hayes – They feel like the same player. Physical, gritty guys who will max out around 45-50 points. One of, if not all of them, could be used as trade bait, if you ask me.
Rick Nash – His career is on the decline. Did he ever live up to the hype of a #1 overall pick? His best days were about 7 years ago.
Notable: Pavel Buchnevich
Kevin Shattenkirk – He was a highly sought after free agent this past off-season and signed with the Rangers for 4 years. Every team needs an offensive defenseman, Shattenkirk is that. I’m not sure he’s worth $6.65 Million, but hey, it’s not my money.
Marc Staal – His brothers, Jordan and Eric, have each won a Stanley Cup. Marc has not.
Brady Skjei – A good, young defenseman who put up 39 points in his rookie season last year.
Ryan McDonagh – Should I feel bad for waiting this long to mention the Captain of the team?
Henrik Lundqvist – He is a Hall of Fame calibre goaltender who isn’t what he used to be. That being said, just because he’s off to a slow start this season, doesn’t mean I’m writing him off just yet.
Ondrej Pavelec – The Winnipeg Jets tried to make him their #1 goalie for so many years, but it never quite worked. He’s a solid backup and who knows, maybe he finds success with a team in a different conference.
1. The Rangers have eclipsed 100 points in each of the last three seasons.
2. My sister thinks I look like their Head Coach, Alain Vigneault.
3. One of my earliest hockey memories is watching Wayne Gretzky’s final NHL game when he was with the New York Rangers in 1999. A bunch of 90s rock songs were played as he circled the ice one last time.
4. They play their home games at Madison Square Garden – the world’s most famous arena. What a coincidence. I’m the world’s most famous blogger.
5. I’m noticing a trend among NHL teams where they don’t actually list ticket prices on their website. You don’t know how much tickets are, until you’re ready to purchase them. Sneaky.
6. The Rangers don’t have a mascot. If they did, it would probably be named Bill NY. Get it? Ah, no one even reads these previews. It’s fine.
WHAT CHRIS THINKS
The New York Rangers are the calzone of hockey teams.
LAST MINUTE OF PLAY
The Rangers are close to firing Head Coach Alain Vigneault, depending on which rumours you read. If they do, expect Lindy Ruff to step in.
I guess it makes sense. Despite their winning ways, their young players haven’t really stepped up.
I really don’t know what this team is going to do this season. I don’t think they’re a playoff team, but they have been in 12 of the last 13 years, so who knows.
ONE WILD PREDICTION
The Rangers miss the playoffs and are sellers at the trade deadline.
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