Projected Stats for Each New York Ranger in Sochi
The New York Rangers are sending seven players to Sochi to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
It's a testament to the talent level on the Rangers roster.
While lines and pairings aren't completely set, and things are subject to change once the tournament gets going, we still have a pretty good idea of what each Ranger is going to do for his country in the tournament.
Read on to find out what the projected stats are for each Ranger headed to Sochi.
Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden
Henrik Lundqvist has simply been remarkable in his Olympic career.
In two tournaments, he's posted a goals-against average of 1.83 and a save percentage of .917. He led Sweden to a gold medal in 2006.
And since he's been hot over the last month or so, expect Lundqvist to dominate in Sochi.
Since January, Lundqvist has posted a .934 save percentage and has allowed two or fewer goals 10 times.
He's on a roll, his early-season struggles clearly behind him.
And Sweden's defense in front of him is absolutely stacked. Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are two of the best in the game. In fact, Sweden might have the best defense in the tournament.
Lundqvist is going to put up an GAA of 1.70 and a save percentage of .925, leading Sweden to a gold medal. He's hot at the right time.
Carl Hagelin, Sweden
Carl Hagelin will play a fourth-line role for Tre Kronor, focusing on killing penalties and creating energy on the forecheck.
And while he does have 23 points in 49 games this season, he's not really going to Sochi to provide offense.
Let's be frank: Hagelin is a role player who probably won't play more than 10 minutes a game. And while those may be 10 productive minutes, he's not going to end up on the scoresheet.
So no points for Hagelin, but he will play a really important role on a team that is in contention for a medal.
Mats Zuccarello, Norway
If Mats Zuccarello was on Team USA, or Russia, he would put up big numbers.
But he's on Norway, a team that is not expected to get past the preliminary rounds.
In four games in 2010, Zuccarello scored three points, a performance that garnered him NHL attention.
And even though he's leading the Rangers in points (43), Zuccarello is only going to play four games in Sochi. There's only so much he can do.
Since he's been playing so well, I expect Zuccarello to score five points—two goals and three assists—and lead his team in scoring.
Rick Nash, Canada
Rick Nash dominates international competition.
In 54 international games in his career, Nash has scored 26 goals and added 27 assists.
He's especially dominated on the larger international ice surface. At the 2007 World Championships in Moscow, Russia, Nash was named tournament MVP after scoring 11 points in 13 games. At the 2011 World Championships in Slovakia, Nash scored five points in seven games.
That's one of the reasons that Nash was selected to the Canadian roster. He simply takes his game to another level in international competition. At the 2010 Olympics, Nash was one of the better Canadian players, scoring five points in seven games.
And now that Steven Stamkos will miss the tournament, Nash is going to see more time on scoring lines. He may even see some minutes on the second line.
Because of that, and because of his previous success on the larger ice, Nash is going to have a great tournament. And since Canada is likely to go far, he'll have plenty of games to work with.
Look for Nash to score seven points—four goals, three assists—and reassert himself as one of the better players in the world.
Ryan Callahan, USA
Ryan Callahan is going to play a third-line role with the Americans, most likely teamed up with David Backes and Dustin Brown, in what will be one of the best checking lines of all time.
So his main role is going to be hitting, getting in on the forecheck and playing responsibly in his own zone. He will be one of the key penalty-killers for the Americans.
In Vancouver in 2010, Callahan notched one assist in six games.
I think it's safe to say that Callahan will post a goal and two assists, since his line will be on the ice a lot. He will lead forwards in hits and play close to 18 minutes a game.
I expect this to be a productive tournament for Callahan, especially since the winger is entering the tournament on a hot streak—he has four points in his last five games.
Derek Stepan, USA
I've said in this space before that I do not expect Derek Stepan to play much in this tournament.
After all, he's the fifth of five centers. Stepan is having a down year. After notching 44 points in 48 games a year ago, Stepan only has 35 points in 59 games this year.
The only way he will play significant minutes is if a center gets injured or if Team USA needs a shakeup.
So I'm projecting that Stepan will not produce at the tournament and will not pick up a point. It'll be disappointing for Stepan, but given just how inconsistent he's been this season, it's a honor for the pivot to even have been named to the team.
Ryan McDonagh, USA
Ryan McDonagh most likely won't fill up the scoresheet.
It's true that he's having his best offensive season of his career, with eight goals and 22 assists. That's a career high in goals, and he will soon eclipse his career high in points.
But his role in Sochi will be to shut down opposing players. The heavy offensive lifting from the blue line will probably be left to Cam Fowler and John Carlson.
Instead, McDonagh is going to play the most important minutes against the world's top snipers. Other than Ryan Suter, McDonagh is America's best defenseman.
So, we'll predict that he'll get two assists. But the more important stat is that he'll average 27 minutes of ice time while finishing the tournament plus-two.
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