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Richards could be a help or hinderance to the Rangers this season.
Best Case Scenario
Under new bench boss Alain Vigneault, the Rangers become an offensive powerhouse. Rick Nash scores 50 goals, Brad Richards returns to form and records 80 points, Derek Stepan solidifies his role as a first-line center with an 85 point campaign and Derick Brassard anchors a successful second line, finishing the year with 75 points.
Henrik Lundqvist adjusts to his new equipment and new system, and he benefits from seeing more shots. The young defense continues to grow, and Ryan McDonagh captures a Norris Trophy after finishing the season with 60 points. Michael Del Zotto is utilized properly, and he finishes with a career-high in points. Marc Staal isn't limited by his vision, and he finishes the year strongly.
Finish: No. 2 in the Metropolitan Division
Worst Case Scenario
The Rangers struggle under Vigneault's system, and the injuries to Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan are too much to overcome. Lundqvist struggles in a system where defenders are not blocking as many shots, and he becomes distracted with contract negotiations looming at the end of the season.
Richards continues to struggle mightily, and he is shutdown midseason so the Rangers are able to use a compliance buyout on his contract once the season is over. Both Derek and Derick struggle to produce, and Nash only scores 30 goals.
Marian Gaborik lights it up in Columbus, and the Blue Jackets dominate the Blueshirts all season long.
Finish: No. 6 in Metropolitan Division