Analyzing the Good, Bad and Ugly of the New York Rangers in 2014
With the 2014 season just around the corner, it's time to take a deeper look into the New York Rangers.
What kind of season can we expect? Which players will shine? Which will fall flat?
There will be a lot of good, bad and ugly on the roster this season.
We take away the guesswork and tell you which players will make up the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2014 New York Rangers.
The Good: Rick Nash
Rick Nash had a great first season in New York. He scored 21 goals in 44 games.
He should be even better this year. Alain Vigneault will do what he can to get Nash in more scoring opportunities.
It would not be shocking if Nash scored 40 or more goals, but 35 is probably more realistic.
Still, the Rangers brought Nash in to be a difference-maker. I think this is the year that he really puts the team on his back.
The Bad: Brian Boyle
I happen to think Brian Boyle is a really good player. However, he may be on the outside looking in.
The Rangers have six centers for four spots. Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard and Brad Richards are guaranteed spots.
J.T. Miller will probably gain a spot, although he may also be moved to wing. Dominic Moore is an ideal fourth-line center.
Which means that Boyle will either be shifted to wing, or shipped elsewhere.
Boyle thrived with John Tortorella, because he's at his best playing a defense-first game. But Boyle may not be fast enough to be effective in Vigneault's more wide-open system.
He's a terrific penalty-killer and did score 21 goals in 2010-11. But he's scored just 13 goals since, and he only scored twice last year.
Unless Boyle can find a way to improve his speed, it would not be a surprise to see him go. If he does make the team, he may struggle mightily. All in all, it looks to be a pretty rough year for Boyle in 2014.
The Ugly: Martin Biron
Martin Biron has played in 44 games in the past three seasons.
By comparison, Henrik Lundqvist, between the regular season and playoffs last year, played in 55.
It's not Biron's fault. He's playing behind an all-world goalie. It would be a bad thing if he played a lot.
Still, now that we're back to a full schedule, Biron will have to play more. Lundqvist will need rest, especially with the Olympics, where he will play a lot of minutes for Sweden.
Biron is a fine goalie, but there has to be a real concern about rust. He can get all the practice time he wants, but there is no substitute for game action. Forty-four games over three years is simply not enough.
If Biron has to play for any extended period of time, the Rangers are in trouble. But even if he plays in 20 games, it would not be surprising if he struggles, and if the Rangers look to upgrade the position.