It may seem strange, but the New York Rangers are actually preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
Take a minute to digest that one, Rangers fans.
The even better news is that the shortened season will more than likely benefit the team. If last year was an indication of anything it's that playing John Tortorella's style for over 100 games really takes a toll on the players' bodies.
Furthermore, the defense is still intact, Lundqvist is still between the pipes and the acquisition of Rick Nash adds a whole lot of punch to the offense. Things are good in Ranger land.
As much as all of this is very exciting, how often does a preseason outlook actually come to fruition in the NHL? Literally never. There are just too many factors at play.
And this year there will be even more added variables. Almost none of the current NHLers know what it's like to play in a shortened season.
Plus, are guys who haven't been playing during the lockout going to struggle to get back into things? And for the ones who did, how long will it take for them to readjust to the North American game?
All of these questions are very important, because struggles and losing streaks are going to be greatly magnified this year.
In addition, players have to deal with the usual challenges of an NHL season such as devastating injuries and the completely unpredictable playoffs.
What I'm trying to say here is, the Rangers may look like the big dogs out of the gate, but year after year the NHL proves it is the least predictable league in North America. Every preseason prediction can be considered bold because we're all in the dark.
But that still doesn't stop us from making them. Here are four bold predictions for the New York Rangers in the upcoming abbreviated 2013 season.