Last season, as we all know, the Rangers failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since the lock-out in 2004, leaving players and fans to imagine what it would’ve been like had Olli Jokenin scored in the shoot-out, and the Rangers go on to win later in the penalty shot period. The question Ranger fans will be asking themselves this season is, “will the Rangers make the playoffs?” and “how will they fair after making the playoffs?” I already have my own answer to those questions, and my answers will stick with me until October 7th (the start of the NHL season) when we know the exact roster and line-up.
My Season Projection (subject to change as off-season progresses)
Record: 42-36-4 (88 points)
Place in Eastern Conference Standings: 8th (last spot qualifying them for the playoffs)
Playoff rounds: Lose in first round to number one seed.
What gave me this prediction?
Well, while I was looking over every team’s acquisition/departure (A/D) sheets, I noticed that a lot of playoff teams from last season didn’t make as many acquisitions as they had departures. This leads me to believe they will drop in the standings this season (for example Ottawa and Montreal).
So far this off-season the Rangers have acquired Martin Biron (G), Derek Boogaard (W), Jeremy Williams (W), Mats Zuccarello-Aasen (W), Todd White (C/W), Alexander Frolov (W), Steve Eminger (D), and most recently Tim Kennedy (C/W).
The Rangers departures include: Olli Jokenin (C), Steve Valliquette (G), Jody Shelley (W), Aaron Voros (W), Donald Brashear (W), P.A Paranteau (W), and Corey Locke (C/W).
When analyzing the Rangers A/D chart you will notice that they’ve gained much more than they lost. None of the Rangers' departures (Jokenin, Vally, Shelley, Voros, Brash, P.A, and Locke) will be sorely missed. Jokenin, Vally, Voros, and Brash did nothing for the Rangers, Shelley was replaced by the best fighter in the league (Derek Boogaard), and both Paranteau and Locke were easily replaced by signing Jermey Williams and Derek Stepan. So it’s as if the Rangers haven’t lost anything.
Instead they gained by adding Frolov and Kennedy (possibly White, Aasen, and Williams if they make the team out of training camp). They also added a quality defenseman in Steve Eminger, a veteran back-up goalie in Martin Biron, and the best enforcer in the game Derek Boogaard.
The Rangers became a better team this off-season and I think the Sather signings will push the Rangers into the top eight. Not to mention Hank Lundqvist should be back to one-hundred percent by training camp, and his urge to win this season, after an upsetting ending to last season, will only make him and the team better.
What can the Rangers do to make themselves a better team before the end of the off-season?
The off-season is still far from over, meaning the Rangers can still make much needed acquisitions. Moves such as acquiring a top-line center, and a crease-clearing defenseman are moves the Rangers can still make. If the Rangers acquire such players in the time remaining this off-season, they may have a chance at getting a better spot in the playoffs.
But, if they do not acquire such players, and other teams such as the Sens and Habs get better in the remaining time they have this off-season, the Rangers may drop out of the playoffs. So the remaining time they have will be very crucial, and likely decide where they stand this coming season.
Thanks for the read, hope you enjoyed. As your comment, feel free to leave your season prediction for the Rangers, a “why you predict this”, and "what the Rangers can do" to make it better.
Miss My Offense, Defense, or Goalie Previews? Here’s the links: offense…http://bleacherreport.com/articles/445369-has-glen-sather-done-enough-to-fix-the-rangers-scoring-problems