The New York Rangers are coming off of a great season. Last year, the Rangers were the first team to hit the 50 win mark. Their blue collar style of play earned them the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and fell one point shy of the President's Trophy. The New Jersey Devils eliminated the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals—only after two grueling rounds of a back-to-back seven-game series.
They may have started this offseason slower than most would have anticipated, but they are littered with talent. Last year the Rangers were plagued by injuries, forcing other players to fill the void. Some answered the call, while others showed they still need to develop. Looking ahead to next season this current Rangers roster has the potential to go the distance.
Artem Anisimov is entering his fourth full season with the New York Rangers. Anisimov has had his ups and downs with the club, often being bounced around with line combinations. Anisimov has improved his all-around play, finishing plus-12, without sacrificing his point production.
Anisimov has been flirting with the 20-goal mark. Look for him to hit it this year. Anisimov should see some increased ice time and he could make a push for a 50-point season. As he continues to develop, so will his play.
Arron Asham was brought in to replace the toughness lost in Brandon Prust. This right wing completed his rounds with the Atlantic Division team by signing a two-year, $2 million contract. Now, Asham will not do much in the scoring department, but look for him to lead the team in penalty minutes.
Last year, Asham, managed to score 16 points, five of which were goals.
This upcoming season, look to Asham to post similar numbers. Five goals and 10 assists are reasonable expectations for this fourth-line tough guy. His physical presence should elevate the fourth line's play.
Boyle had a fantastic start to the playoffs last year but was derailed by a concussion. Last year, Boyle failed to reproduce his spectacular 2010-2011 season. Last year proved to be a decent year for this 6'7 center.
Boyle's season two years ago was promising, but his last year's totals are most likely what Boyle will repeat this year. Boyle has begun to develop into a bit of a tough guy that plays in the dirty areas. Boyle should eclipse the 10 goal, 25-point mark again this year.
Since his arrival in New York, Ryan Callahan has been nothing shy of the heart and soul of this team. He is a John Tortorella poster child. He works hard every shift—finishing checks, blocking shots, and putting the puck in the net. Last year, Callahan's hard work paid off as he was named captain. In his first season as captain, Callahan fell one goal shy of scoring 30. He was among the top point producers on this club.
This upcoming season, Callahan will be scoring 30 goals. And 65 points isn't out of the realm of possibility either. Callahan will continue to lead by example. He again will be among the top of all major team stats.
Dubinsky's season was a complete disappointment. Dubinsky followed a 24-goal, 54-point season with a 10-goal, 34-point season. That noticeable drop off has upset many fans, wanting him to be packaged up in a deal to bring another elite scorer.
Dubinsky should have a bit of a bounce back year. Dubinsky should post 15 goals and 40-plus points. His style of play helps wear down teams. He has become a bit more physical which shouldn't change next season.
Gaborik is the Ranger's sniper. Last year, Gaborik's 41 goals found him third in the league. In 220 games as a New York Ranger, Gaborik has produced just under a point per game (210) with 105 being goals. Health was an issue for Gaborik in Minnesota, but has been relatively health in New York.
Gaborik will be sidelined with an injury, limiting his numbers. Gaborik's expectations are uncertain do to recovery time, but Gaborik should have no problem finding the scorers sheet when he returns. Depending on the number of games Gaborik is able to play, but he should put up close to 20 goals and 40 points.
Carl Hagelin's rookie season as a Ranger was a good one, qualifying him as a rookie all-star. In 64 games, Hagelin scored 14 goals, 24 assists, 38 points and was a plus-21. Hagelin's playoff performance was a bit subpar compared to his regular season, but as he matures so will his game.
His speed proves to be difficult for other teams to match. Hagelin has developed some chemistry with the top line last year. The combination of those two, plus the addition of 16 games, should see Hagelin hit the 50-point mark.
Jeff Halpern has been bounced around the league a bit in the last several years. Although he isn't a big scorer, he is consistent in the faceoff circle. Last year, Halpern had a faceoff win percentage of 58.3. Halpern has eclipsed the 40-point mark three times in his career. The last time being in 2005-2006 with the Washington Capitals.
Halpern's role with the Rangers is winning faceoffs. He should be able to pick up 20 points along the way. Halpern will be expected to fill in for Brandon Prust on the penalty kill. Although Prust was dangerous on the penalty kill, Halpern will be able to help the Rangers lead one of the league's top penalty kill.
Chris Kreider came out in last year's playoffs firing on all cylinders. His total of five playoff goals were among the best on the Rangers. He is a speedy left winger who is capable of lighting the lamp every time he has the puck.
Kreider's playoff performance could be a curse for him. Without even playing in a regular season game, Kreider's expectations are already high. Kreider should be able to answer the call. In his rookie season, Kreider should break the 25-goal mark. While Kreider works on his defensive game, his plus/minus should take a hit.
Pyatt is coming off a solid team performance with the Phoenix Coyotes. The New York Rangers signed Pyatt to a two-year, $3.1 million contract. Pyatt finished last year with nine goals and 19 points. Pyatt is bringing solid experience to this Rangers club, playing on some pretty good teams over the years.
In 2010-2011, Pyatt posted 18 goals, so he can score goals. His role with the Rangers will be a depth guy, playing in the bottom six. He is a big body and could play on the penalty kill. A successful season for Pyatt would be scoring 10-plus goals and 25-plus points.
Brad Richards produced the same numbers last year as he did in years previous. Richards is a set up man that registered 41 assists last season. That is his lowest total since 2008-2009. That year he recorded 32 assists in 56 games.
Toward the latter stages of the season, Richards and Gaborik seemed to develop some chemistry. Richards should continue to settle into a new system and improve his last year's performance. Richards should be a 20-plus goal scorer with a total of 70-plus points next season.
Outside of the Winter Classic, Mike Rupp didn't do too much for the Rangers. Last year, Rupp posted five points all year. He was brought in to give depth and toughness to the fourth line.
The Rangers brought in Arron Asham, which could boost Rupp up to a 15-point season. Rupp will continue to protect the players around him.
Stepan scored a hat trick in his NHL debut. Very promising start to a career. Last year, Stepan played his second season with the New York Rangers. He scored 51 points, 17 of which were goals. Stepan is continuing to polish his game, increasing his plus/minus rating to 14. Stepan plays a solid two way game. He takes the body, blocks shots, plays hard every shift. His play is developing into a young Ryan Callahan.
Stepan will be pivotal in the Rangers success. Stepan will look to fill the number two center position. The addition of Kreider means Stepan will have more talent to his disposal. Whether it is Kreider or Hagelin flanking Stepan, his line will be just a little bit more dangerous than last year. This increase in speed should elevate Stepan into a 55-60 point player.
Stu Bickel saw time in 51 games last year, scoring 9 points all season, while managing 108 minutes in penalties. Bickel is depth guy for this Rangers club. He has the ability to play as a forward or a defender, which is a valuable asset to the organization.
Bickel is a depth guy on this roster. He will give the Rangers some extra grit, but should see limited time this upcoming season. His stats should look pretty similar to the ones he posted last year.
Michael Del Zotto is entering his fourth season in Broadway. His regular season performance was great, postseason was a bit of a different story. MDZ scored 10 goals and 41 points. Most importantly Del Zotto corrected a minus-five in 2010-2011 to a plus-20.
So far in his early career, MDZ has had an up and down system. Last year he took strides in becoming the type of player the Rangers drafted. He moved the puck well and quarterbacked at the power play at times. He is currently developing his two-way game. Next year Del Zotto should score around 10 goals but improve his point total to 50-plus.
Erixon saw limited time in 18 games last year, assisting on two goals.
There is a lot of hope for Erixon. Erixon should crack the Rangers' line up this year. Although, Tortorella doesn't give much ice time to players he doesn't trust. Erixon already fell victim to this and will again several times next year. Exiron should increase his game totals and possibly break 10 points.
Dan Girardi was the anchor on the Rangers' defense last year. His consistent play as a shut down defender earned him his first all-star appearance. Girardi doesn't score many goals, but he prevents the other team from scoring them. Last year, Girardi was among the top in the league in ice time.
Girardi should follow up his last year's performance with a better one. Girardi should be good for five goals and 35 points. More importantly, he will continue to display his dominance as one of the league's best shut down men.
Ryan McDonagh has continued to progress into a top defender. In his 122 games as a New York Ranger, he has scored 8 goals, 41 points, and is a plus-41. McDonagh paired up with Dan Girardi forming one of the best defensive tandems in the NHL.
Last year, McDonagh spent time jumping up in plays, creating chances offensively. He should continue to add to his offensive totals while not sacrificing his defensive play. In 2012-2013, McDonagh should put up 10 goals, 35 points, and finish above a plus-20.
Michael Sauer was showing promise for this New York Rangers club. That is, until he was injured in December and diagnosed with a concussion. In his 19 games, Sauer managed a goal, two assists and a plus-nine rating.
Sauer's return is uncertain at this point, leaving the door open for someone to come in and earn his roster spot. Although the Rangers have solid young talent at the defensive position, Sauer should see action this year. This injury appears to be like the one Marc Staal just returned from. It will take time for Sauer to return to game form. With that said, if Sauer could play in 40-plus games and put up 10-plus points, that would be a successful season.
The Winter Classic was the first game Staal saw action in as he recovered from his 2010 concussion. Staal looked fairly shaky in his first few outings, but began to return to form in the later stages of the season. Stall played in 46 games, posting five points and a minus-seven. A year before, 2010-2011, Staal recorded 29 points and a plus-eight.
Last year was a recovery year for Marc Staal. The offseason and training camp should help Staal recover fully and return to form. Staal is very capable of putting up good numbers, but with the emergence of the Girardi/McDonagh line, Staal's stats could take a bit of a hit. Staal should post 25-30 points and have a plus/minus rating over 10.
Anton Stralman saw significant playing time with Staal and Sauer both lost to injury. In his 53 games last year, Stralman scored twice and added 16 assists. Stralman had his ups and downs, taking his lashing from coach John Tortorella, but finished the season a plus-nine.
Stralman did struggle at times during the season and playoffs. With the Rangers depth at defense it will be a battle for Stralman to stay with the club. He isn't nearly as dominate as some of the other blueliners, but he isn't as bad as some. A successful season for Stralman would be 20 points in 50 games.
Marty Biron is about as valuable to this team as anyone. He did his job perfectly last year. He allowed Henrik Lundqvist much needed rest, which translated into a Vezina for King Henrik. Biron wasn't bad when he was in net. Last season, Biron went 12-6-2. His goals against was a 2.46 and save percentage of .904, both respectable numbers. Biron was hot much of the season but did cool off 2-3 in his last five games.
Biron came back to do one thing, back up Henrik Lundqvist. Biron should see time in just over 20 games. His record, goals against, and save percentage should look about the same.
Henrik Lundqvist played out of his mind, posting a 39-18-5 record. He was top five in the major goaltending categories. His goals against was an astounding 1.97 and his save percentage was .930. Those stats, coupled with his eight shutouts, ultimately won him his first Vezina. He followed up his ridiculous regular season with an outstanding postseason, finishing top five in the major categories there as well.
The team in front of King Henrik hasn't changed much. Once again, his games played will be limited to 60-65 to give him rest for the playoffs. Lundqvist is very capable of putting up similar numbers again next year. Look for Hank to challenge his career best totals and break the 40-win plateau.