2014/15 Season Preview – New York Rangers

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/Rick_Nash_Rangers.jpg/640px-Rick_Nash_Rangers.jpg

2013/14 Season Record – 5th in Eastern Conference, 2nd in Metropolitan Division

W

L OT PTS

GOAL DIFF.

45 31 6 96

+25

2013/14 Season Recap

The Rangers had a stellar season, making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in Alain Vigneault’s first season behind the bench in New York. The team initially struggled to adjust to Vigneault’s new system, which is significantly different than former coach John Tortorella’s.

But, they found their groove, and after trading for sniper Martin St. Louis at the trade deadline, the team took the playoffs by storm, taking down the Flyers, Penguins, and Canadiens on the way to their first Stanley Cup Final berth since 1994. We all saw their rough defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings once they got there.

Projected Roster

LW C RW
Rick Nash Derek Stepan Martin St. Louis
Mats Zuccarello Derek Brassard Lee Stempniak
Carl Hagelin Chris Kreider Kevin Hayes
Tanner Glass J.T. Miller Dominic Moore
LD RD
Dan Girardi Ryan McDonagh
Dan Boyle Marc Staal
Kevin Klein Mike Kostka
G
Henrik Lundqvist
Cam Talbot
EXTRAS
Matthew Lombardi
Matt Hunwick
John Moore

Top Call-Up Options

Forward Jesper Fast
Defense Petr Zamorsky
Goal Jason Missiaen

Top Prospects

  1. Anthony Duclair
  2. Steven Fogarty
  3. Mat Bodie

Key Additions

  • Lee Stempniak (free agency)
  • Tanner Glass (free agency)
  • Mike Kostka (free agency)
  • Kevin Hayes (free agency)

Key Subtractions

  • Brad Richards (buyout, signed with Chicago)
  • Benoit Pouliot (signed with Edmonton)
  • Brian Boyle (signed with Tampa Bay)
  • Anton Stralman (signed with Tampa Bay)

Roster Thoughts

It is hard to compete with this Rangers top line. Nash, Stepan, and St. Louis are all proven goal scorers that will put up big numbers for New York. But, beyond that, the roster thins out. The Rangers don’t have much depth on offense, especially at center. Even with the signing of Kevin Hayes, the second and third-line units will have some work to do.

The buyout of Brad Richards was necessary, but left the Rangers gutted down the middle. The players on the wing are very talented, but the talent at center gets pretty thin. Some players may have to play out of their natural position. The loss of Benoit Pouliot is huge too. He is an incredible offensive weapon that will be missed dearly in New York.

Key Player

Rick Nash – This is Rick Nash’s make-or-break year in New York. He is extremely talented. Now he needs to play like it. He has been criticized for his lackluster play, especially in the playoffs. If Nash can’t step up and become the leader he was brought in to be, he may be headed out the door.

2014/15 Expectations

The Rangers will probably not be headed back to the Stanley Cup Final. But, in a relatively weak Eastern Conference, they’ll find their way back to the playoffs. Another deadline-day trade wouldn’t hurt either.

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