Reasons Why The Rangers Are Going To Be Better
Since July 1st, most sports talks shows, websites and experts have basically knocked the NY Rangers. The losses of Brad Richards, Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett and Benoit Pouliot are simply too much for them to overcome. We say – NONSENSE!
Yes, those are 5 significant pieces from last year’s team, but they are hardly irreplaceable. In all fairness, the Rangers have begun the transformation with a strong start by addressing their need of a PP QB in Dan Boyle. Mix in the addition of Tanner Glass and the re-signing of Dominic Moore and the Rangers are just a few RFA signings away from being a contender again.
Did you just raise an eyebrow? I bet you did.
Here is what all the pundits and experts fail to realize; many Rangers had off years and will be better. In addition, many Rangers may be on the verge of breaking out or taking the next step in their careers.
Let’s assume they re-sign all their RFA’s, the lineup will look like this:
As of today, the Rangers are as strong in goal as they ever were. On defense, I contend they are going to be extremely better. Why? Not just because they added Dan Boyle to QB the power play, but because Ryan McDonagh is on the verge of becoming a Norris Trophy candidate.
McDonagh, now 25 is entering his 4th full season in the NHL. Since 2011-12 his points per game average has increased as follows:
- 2011-12 .39
- 2012-13 .40
- 2013-14 .55
If he continues to progress to a .60 – .70 points per game average, it would mean a 58 point campaign. Duncan Keith won the Norris Trophy with 61 points this season.
The experts also disregard the off-seasons had by Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. Stepan was at a .92 points per game pace in the lockout shortened season and regressed to .69 last year. What’s to say he won’t regain his form and net almost 80 points.
What about everyone’s favorite whipping boy Rick Nash? It’s funny how everyone forgets he was concussed a week into the season in SJ. Injuries derailed his season to 65 games and he posted a .60 points per game total. The prior season he was excellent, scoring at a .95 points clip. A rebound to 2012-13 numbers would be a 40 goal and 80 points season.
So are the Rangers still terrible now?
Let’s not forget, a full season of Martin St. Louis, the continual improvements of Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin all add up to a better NYR team.
How about the kids? Chris Kreider could be ready to emerge as a top level threat. Kreider tallied 17 goals in 66 games last season, 25 should be no problem and 30 is within reach too. Do you still want to write the Rangers off “hockey experts?”
Do the Rangers have question marks? Find me one team not named the L.A. Kings that don’t. The bottom line is simple, the Rangers have to fill another hole at the wing left by Pouliot. Is the answer in the organization? Yes, it’s possible.
Young kids like JT Miller, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg and Danny Kristo all have a shot of showing they belong. Their upside easily makes up for the losses of Richards and Pouliot. Each of them at one time or another has shown the ability to play the game and may simply need the chance.
So for all the doomsday preppers out there – come out of your bomb shelters. The 2014-15 Rangers may be every bit as good, if not better than the team that made the finals.