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2018-2019 NHL Preview: New York Rangers

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Rebuild time in New York.

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Ninth up are the New York Rangers (currently in their 92nd season in the NHL) who made it evident to all they are rebuilding. They missed the playoffs last year for the first time in 8 years (a run that included a Stanley Cup finals loss to the Los Angeles Kings in 2013-2014).

2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:

NHL Standings: 24th
Goals for Rank: 21st
Goals against Rank: 28th
PP Rank: 12th
PK Rank: 10th

Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats

NHL Standings: 24th
Eastern Conference Standings: 12th
Metropolitan Division Standings: 6th
Coach: David Quinn (first season, he joins the ranks of David Hakstol and Jim Montgomery as coaches coming into the NHL out of the NCAA. David’s record with Boston University was 105-67-21)

Overview:

I imagine the Rangers had lofty expectations entering into the 2017-2018 season; however after a strong start through year end where they stood at 20-13-5 they would go 8-17-1 over their next two months and their future appeared dimer. Over the last 4 months of the season they traded away Rick Nash for Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey then they traded Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller to the Lightning for Vladislav Namestinikov, finally they traded Michael Grabner to the New Jersey Devils for a prospect and a draft pick. The net culmination of all of these trades gave the Rangers two additional 1st round picks in 2018, one additional 2nd round pick in 2018, one 2nd round pick in 2019 and a 7th round pick in 2019. They would use their three first round picks to grab Vitali Kravtsov, K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist. They have a solid young core who will hit some learning curves next year as they work together. Lias Andersson, Filip Chytil, Vladislav Namestinikov, Pavel Buchenevich and Jimmy Vesey will all be vying for spots on the top 3 lines and all of them are 25 or younger. Mats Zuccarello has his speed and Mika Zibanejad has a firm shot but no one on this team eclipsed 55 points last season and one of ten teams not to have a 30 goal scorer on their roster (along with Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Nashville, Ottawa and Vancouver). On defense Ryan McDonagh was their rock. Now Brady Skjei and Kevin Shattenkirk will try to head up the top line with Marc Staal and Neal Poink behind them (a combined -31 last year). In net 36 year old future HOF Henrik Lundqvist can’t fool father time anymore. He has now had 3 consecutive season decline in wins, TOI, GAA and shutouts. Last season he was 36th in GAA, 21st in Sv% and 25th in Shutouts. No one on the current roster behind him has a strong track record to believe in at this points. This team has built itself to transform and rebuild, how that happens under David Quinn has yet to be seen, it is likely that it takes at least this season to begin the rebuild and adaption.

Major Additions:

Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, Vladislav Namestinikov

Major Subtractions:

Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, JT Miller, Michael Grabner

Prospects and Picks:

-Vitaly Kravtsov. The Rangers picked him with the 9th pick in the NHL draft. He is a heads up player who reads the play well and can get a step ahead to pick off plays and find open spaces, plus he has shown an ability to score at the KHL level (6 goals in 16 playoff games at age of 17 last year). He is a protypical offensive first mentality and he needs to bulk up a bit before he will be ready for NHL play.

-K’Andre Miller. There are a few others who could be highlighted here: Alexei Bereglazov, Anthony DeAngelo or even Igor Shestyorkin but K’Andre Miller is a fascinating prospect to follow. Taken with the 22nd overall pick in the 2018 draft, K’Andre is a versatile tool to have, he can play defense or forward, he is big, he can score, he is physical and is a threat in both zones. We could be looking at the next Dustin Bfyglien/ Brent Burns.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

-Lias Anderson. He played just 7 games late last season with the Rangers scoring a goal and an assist over that time. It is likely he cracks the lineup this year in a top six role and he will have the propensity to put up some points. He scored 5 goals in 25 AHL games which was a continuation off his time in the Swedish Elite league where he scored 7 goals in 22 games prior to his time in the AHL. His time vaulting up the ranks and adapting is a good sign. If he plays on the 2nd line alongside Vladislav Namestnikov (who can score) and Mats Zuccarello (who can skate) he could put up 50 points. It’s likely he sits around low 40’s but there is a high ceiling for him.

Cap Situation:

$48MM Spent; $29M in Cap room; 14 players signed; average team age 27.

Poll

Will the a Ranger exceed 70 points this year?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Yes, someone has 70 or more points
    (29 votes)
  • 59%
    No, all of their player score 69 or fewer points
    (42 votes)
71 votes total Vote Now