Mike Rupp gives outlook for the 2023-24 New York Rangers
Ice is being put in at arenas across North America which means one thing, hockey is on its way back. Forever Blueshirts had the opportunity to speak with former New York Rangers forward, Stanley Cup Champion, and current NHL Network Analyst Mike Rupp for his input on the upcoming season.
We touched on a broad range of topics from the hiring of Peter Laviolette to who he sees could be in the Stanley Cup Final this season.
Of course, no Rangers conversation can go on without discussing some key youngsters in Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. Here’s a few highlights of that interview.
Mike Rupp on the New York Rangers “kids”
One of the biggest hot-button issues in Rangers land is who’s playing where? There have been so many line combinations that have been concocted that it’s been hard to keep up. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how much the “kids” have developed in the offseason.
“Even if one of these three guys can hit, two of them can hit, I mean geez if all three take a step this year this will be a Stanley Cup favorite team for me,” Rupp said.
While on the surface that sounds well and good, Rupp mentions these are all ifs and not guarantees. But Filip Chytil is prime for a breakout season after steadily improving on his offensive numbers.
Chytil’s biggest issue in his career to this point has been his consistency when putting up points. His display of pure speed and power, mixed with a heavy shot is a stark reminder of a young Mika Zibanejad coming over from Ottawa.
“I’m ready for him to be a superstar,” Rupp said when discussing the potential growth of Chytil for this upcoming campaign.
Mike Rupp on Adam Fox
A guy who has fit it rather smoothly since lacing them up for the Blueshirts has been Adam Fox. Already a Norris Trophy winner, and arguably robbed of one this past year, but for Ranger fans like myself, who never got to see Brian Leetch in his prime, it feels like Fox is that type of player.
“There are certain players that have changed the game from the defensive position,” Rupp said when talking about Fox. “In the ‘90’s it was Brian Leetch. He was another one who pushed the envelope, sure there were other ones along the way but ones that really changed the game. Cale Makar and Adam Fox are the ones now that keep changing the game.”
Mike Rupp on his outlook for the Rangers season
Looking forward to the 2023-24 NHL season that lies ahead of all of us, many people around the league have the Rangers as the third-best team in the Metropolitan division, behind the Hurricanes and Devils
“I think Carolina is still a very difficult team. If they can get timely scoring and stay healthy, that can be a huge difference for them. But in the Eastern Conference, I probably have New Jersey, New York (Rangers), Carolina.” Rupp said when discussing contenders in the Eastern Conference this year. “The Rangers have just as good a chance as anyone in the East.”
There are a ton of “If’s” when it comes to the New York Rangers season. IF Kaapo Kakko takes a step offensively, IF Alexis Lafreniere is able to benefit from more power play time, IF Filip Chytil breaks out as one of the next stars in the league. With how low expectations are for some about this Rangers team, it may be a year that catches many by surprise come June.
To watch the entire interview, check out The Forever Blueshirts Channel.