Five Bold predictions for the New York Rangers in 2022
The New York Rangers are having a great season with 42 points in 30 games thus far. They are on pace for 114 points which would be the single highest point total in franchise history.
That is not one of my bold predictions.
While I believe the team will finish with over 100 points for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign (102), it will be an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals that will top 2022 on Broadway.
Let’s dive into five bold predictions for the Blueshirts in the new year.
Adam Fox will win his second straight Norris Trophy
To start us off, I believe Adam Fox will be the first defenseman to win consecutive Norris Trophies since Nicklas Lidstrom won three in a row with the Detroit Red Wings from 2005/06 to 2007/08.
Fox, 23, from Jericho, NY is tied with Tampa’s Victor Hedman in scoring for defensemen with 31 points. While last season, he was considered a bit of an unknown, that’s not the case anymore.
Although Fox isn’t as flashy with the puck like some other defensemen, or physically imposing as others, his ability to always make the right play sets him apart. It’s those million little things he does in a game that has the entire NHL on notice and why he wins another Norris title.
Artemi Panarin will break 100 points
The Rangers best offensive weapon got off to a slow start this season but has dramatically picked up his scoring pace.
In his first season with the Rangers (2019-20), Panarin would have easily broken the 100 point mark but the pandemic cut the year short. He finished with 95 and had no chance last year with just 56 games. However, with 33 points in 30 games he’s only on pace for 90 this season.
My bold prediction is that the Breadman will pick up his play even more coming out of the break. This time Artemi will not be denied scoring 100 points for the first time in his career.
Chris Kreider will not disappear
The importance of Chris Kreider to this team can’t be underestimated. He is considered on of the NHL’s fastest skaters and best net front guys in the league. Yet, in his 10 year career he’s never scored more than 28 goals. He’s hit that mark twice, once in 2016/17 and 2018/19.
Kreider, 30, has always been a streaky scorer but his penchant to go on long droughts without a goal has become an annual right of passage. He certainly has a nice cushion with 18 goals in 30 games, but too often we’ve seen his hot starts fizzle.
It will not happen this season.
Thanks to an excellent power play, Kreider will not only break the 30 goal mark for the first time, he will hit 40.
Gerard Gallant will win the Jack Adams Award
While Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour seems to be a media darling for coach of the year, what Gerard Gallant will do in his first season in New York can’t be ignored.
He has the Rangers among the one of the top team’s in the league with a .700 points percentage. That’s tied for third best in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gallant last coached in the NHL during the 2019-20 season, but it looks like the 58 year-old bench boss hasn’t missed a beat. If the Rangers continue at this pace voters will be hard pressed not to select him.
Since its inception, no New York Rangers coach has ever won the Jack Adams Award. That ends in 2022.
New York Rangers make the Stanley Cup Final
In 2018, the New York Rangers sent out a letter to fans announcing a rebuild. Many painful trades of fan favorites and the eventual buyout of legendary goalie Henrik Lundqvist were endured.
Now out of the ashes a perennial Stanley Cup contender will rise. Led by stars like Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and another great goalie in the making named Igor Shesterkin, NY will make an improbable Cup Final appearance.
Unfortunately, they are likely to face a stacked veteran team that’s been built to win for years. I expect in some sort of twist of fate, Gallant will lose to the club he brought to the Stanley Cup final in 2017/18.
Even though they will fall short, it will be the first of many long playoff runs with at least one Championship in their near future.
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