NY Rangers: Predicting the Stats of Their Top 10 Players
Hockey is finally back and we can now discuss what the season will actually look like.
The New York Rangers feature a ton of talented players. Thus, it will be instructive to predict the stats of their top 10 players.
How will these players fare in the shortened 2013 season?
Read on to find out.
Henrik Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy last season. What will he do as an encore?
Last year, Lundqvist had a 39-18-5 record, with a microscopic 1.97 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
This season, Lundqvist will have big numbers again. He'll put up a record of 17-10-3, a 2.03 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.
Rick Nash is the big-ticket number in New York now, and expectations will be high.
Last season playing with mediocre talent, Nash scored 30 goals and added 29 assists.
While he probably won't eclipse 30 goals, I think Nash has the potential to score 25 goals—or one every other game. He'll add 23 assists and help the Rangers become one of the best teams in the league.
Brad Richards has a lot of new, shiny toys to play with.
Richards could end up centering a line of Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik. That would mean he could assist on a lot of goals.
In addition, with increased focus on Gaborik and Nash, he could have more open ice to score goals.
Because of this, I think Richards will have a huge season. Richards will score 23 goals and add 28 assists this year.
Marian Gaborik is coming off a shoulder injury, and that could affect his play this year.
But with Rick Nash in the fold, he won't be the sole offensive focus and could still have a big year.
Last year, Gaborik scored 41 goals and had 35 assists. Look for Gaborik to score 21 goals and add 19 assists this season.
Ryan Callahan is a terrific all-around player, but his offensive game does not get as much attention as it should.
Last season, Callahan 29 goals and added 25 assists. Thirteen of those goals were on the power play.
With the power play expected to be improved, Callahan could still see a big year in this shortened season.
Callahan will end up with 20 goals and 15 assists in the 2013 campaign.
Ryan McDonagh is the Rangers' best defenseman, and that will continue into 2013.
While not a huge offensive threat, McDonagh did score seven goals and added 25 assists last year.
I do believe that McDonagh has an offensive game in him and will continue to improve in that area. While the limited season will hurt his numbers, he should still have a good year.
McDonagh will score five goals and add 20 assists this season.
Carl Hagelin was a revelation as a rookie and should continue his strong, energetic play this season.
Last year, Hagelin scored 14 goals and had 24 assists. However, this season, his time on the power play should increase and he could put up bigger numbers.
I think that Hagelin will have a breakout year. Look for him to score 16 goals and add 26 assists.
Chris Kreider was a playoff sensation last year, scoring five goals in 18 games in his first NHL action.
In the AHL during the lockout, Kreider has struggled a bit, scoring only five goals in 33 games.
Why the struggle? Hard to tell, but it is instructive to remember that Kreider is only 21. It is his first extended professional action and he's bound to struggle.
There is debate about whether or not he will start the season with the big club—I think he's too talented not to. There will be struggles during the year, but he's too talented not to make an impact. Kreider will end up with 12 goals and eight assists during the shortened season.
Dan Girardi is not flashy, but he sure gets the job done.
He blocks shots, drops the gloves, lays out the body and does everything he can to help the team win.
He can also chip in on the offensive side. Last year, he had five goals and 24 assists.
He plays on the point on the power play, and I expect that he will put up numbers on the man advantage this year. With Rick Nash in the fold, the power play should be better, and Girardi should benefit.
Look for Girardi to score three goals and add 17 assists in the 2013 campaign.
I have been hard on Stepan in these pages and I still don't believe that he will ever become an elite player.
That said, Stepan should center the second line this year and will have some talented teammates. He'll center some combination of Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Ryan Callahan and perhaps Marian Gaborik or Rick Nash.
Stepan scored 17 goals last season, along with 34 assists. He won't hit those numbers this year due to the limited number of games. But because of the talent around him, he could still have a nice year.
I expect Stepan to score 10 goals this season, along with 20 assists. In 50 games, these would be very solid numbers.