NHL: Around the League in 30 Days, Day 10 - New York Rangers
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Day #10: New York Rangers
2010 Record: 38-33-11 (87 Points), 9th in the Eastern Conference
2010-2011 Notable Arrivals: Alexander Frolov (LA), Martin Biron (NYI), Todd White (ATL), Derek Boogaard (MIN), Steve Eminger (ANH), Mats Zuccarello Aasen (NOR)
2010-2011 Notable Departures: RW P.A. Parenteau (NYI), Olli Jokinen (CAL), Chris Higgins (FLA), Aaron Voros (ANH)
Rangers Report Card
Forwards: The Rangers were an unpredictable team in 2009-2010. Some nights they looked like an elite team while other times they looked no better than an AHL franchise.
Much of this can be attributed to a lack of production on behalf of the forward group not named Marian Gaborik.
GM Glen Sather recognized this and made three pretty solid additions that should help the Rangers this season. Alexander Frolov should complement Gaborik on the Rangers top line while Todd White will provide a veteran presence in the faceoff dot.
There is much optimism on the offensive side, as the Rangers will hope for continued development of young forwards Artem Anisimov, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and even youngsters such as AHLer Evgeny Grachev and recently signed Norwegian standout forward Mats Zuccarello Aasen.
Each of these guys could have a major role this season for New York.
The forward group also has some toughness and grit in the likes of Derek Boogaard and Sean Avery; they will also expect a better year from veteran centre Chris Drury and continued scoring from Vinny Prospal.
Overall, the Rangers have a pretty decent forward group. If they can all remain healthy, they should be able to keep the club in the playoff race come April.
Overall Grade: C
Top Fantasy Forwards in 2010/2011: RW Marian Gaborik (42G/44A/86Pts/+15), Alexander Frolov (19G/32A/51Pts/-1), Vinny Prospal (20G/38A/58Pts/+8), Brandon Dubinsky (20G/24A/44Pts/+9)
Defence: The New York Rangers blue line is consists of underachieving veterans and strong talented prospects.
The core of the defence is lead by 19-year old sophomore Michael Del Zotto, who had an excellent rookie campaign, and stalwart Marc Staal, likely the team’s best defensive defenseman.
He is joined by veterans Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden, each of which had 2009-2010 seasons to forget and will be looking to rebound tremendously.
One strength of the Rangers defence corps is depth in the likes of veteran Dan Girardi, sophomore Matt Gilroy, and the newly acquired Steve Eminger.
While the group isn’t flashy, they provide the Rangers with a fairly reliable back end with some offensive input possible as well.
Overall Grade: B
Top Fantasy Defenders in 2010/2011: Michael Del Zotto (9G/28A/37Pts/-20), Marc Staal (8G/19A/27Pts/+11)
Goaltending: When it comes to goaltending for the New York Rangers only two words are needed, King Henrik.
Lundqvist is among the elite goaltenders in the National Hockey League and is among the most consistent as well.
While he is vulnerable to the high shot on rebounds, it is only due to the fact that he has the quickest legs in the NHL in goal and takes away the entire lower half of the goal.
Expect Lundqvist to play a bulk of the games in New York this season; however, with the acquisition of veteran Martin Biron he will not need to be a workhorse as in seasons past.
The Rangers goaltending is the most predictable and dependable position on the roster, there is no reason to doubt them in this area.
Overall Grade: A
Top Fantasy Goaltender in 2010/2011: Henrik Lundqvist (35-27-10/2.38GAA/.920SV%/ 4SO)
Prospects Watch (via hockeysfuture.com)
1. C/W Evgeny Grachev
Drafted: 2008, 3rd rd, 75th Overall
Current Team: Hartford Wolfpack (AHL)
Key Attributes: Grachev is a top prospect with size, a physical presence, and good hands. An above average skater with a pro shot and the ability to protect the puck, Grachev has transitioned from being a center to being a winger.
2. C Derek Stepan
Drafted: 2008, 2nd rd, 51st Overall
Current Team: University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
Key Attributes: A pressure player, Stepan can score as well as act as a playmaker. Defensively responsible, he is a smart player that loves to play along the boards.
3. LW Chris Kreider
Drafted: 2009, 19th Overall
Current Team: Boston College (NCAA)
Key Attributes: A prototypical power forward, Kreider has shown his speed, and scoring ability. He is a clutch player who has become very responsible on both ends of the ice.
4. D Ryan McDonagh
Drafted: 2007, 1st rd, 12th Overall (Montreal)
Current Team: University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
Key Attributes: His major asset is his speed. He's also responsible on his own end and has the size to be a physical force. He combines that with an ability to contribute on the offensive end of the rink, making the smart pass and keying the rush.
5. Chad Johnson
Current Team: Hartford Wolfpack (AHL)/ New York Rangers
Key Attributes: Johnson is a goaltender who is very efficient with his body movements and makes tremendous use of his large frame in covering the net. One of Johnson’s greatest attributes is his meticulous and professional approach to his game.
Analysts’ Fantasy Stud: RW Marian Gaborik
Gaborik is one of the most skilled wingers in the entire National Hockey League. Barring any injury setbacks, the Slovakian should post 80+ points in 2010-2011 and is a must have on all fantasy hockey teams. He has tremendous quickness, a great shot and silk smooth hands. Gaborik is an elite goal scorer and will be a consistent producer all season long. He is likely to go in the first 3 rounds of all drafts so act quickly.
Analysts’ Player to Avoid: C Chris Drury
Once a fairly productive and consistent centerman, Drury has dropped off tremendously since his departure from the Sabres, so much so that he finds himself third on the Rangers depth chart. He was a dynamic scorer early in his career and very much a clutch player, however this is no longer this case. Avoid Drury even late in drafts, as you are better off taking a risk on a sleeper then wasting a selection on him.
Analysts’ Sleeper Special: RW Ryan Callahan
Callahan is a very strong two way winger for the Rangers. While playing a very reliable defensive minded game, he also has a great scoring touch, excellent speed, and could easily put up 60+ points in a season. He is also a threat to score on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Callahan is the type of player that can be had late in most drafts and for the production he can contribute comes at a tremendous bargain.
Expectations and Prediction:
The Rangers are an intriguing club heading into 2010-2011 and being on Broadway means high expectations for the franchise.
The Rangers will need production from all four forward lines and consistent play from their defence if they are going to have any chance of competing in the Eastern Conference.
One factor working against the Rangers is the fact that the Atlantic Division might be the toughest in the NHL this season, with the Devils, Penguins, Flyers, and Islanders all improving in the off season and the first three all playoff bound last season.
The Rangers will need to work hard every night and make sure not to give away points. They will need players up and down their line up to step up and play the way they are capable and be a team that other clubs do not want to face.
One guarantee for a team coached by John Tortorella is that if the players aren't putting in the effort, they will not play.
Look for the Rangers to be battling for a playoff spot at the end of the season, whether they make it or not is merely speculation.
Prediction: 10th in the Eastern Conference
Overall Grade: B
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