The Rangers are playing with house money this season
What a summer it was for the New York Rangers. The new look squad has some fresh faces in the lineup in the form of Kaapo Kakko, Artemi Panarin, Vitali Kravtsov, Adam Fox, and possibly even full time for Libor Hajek or Yegor Rykov. The Rangers made a commitment to rebuilding this team the right way, and they have. They’ve compiled draft picks, won a lottery (essentially), signed a big ticket free agent, and made some A+ trades. Because of all of these moves, this has the makings to be the most fun year we as fans have experienced in quite some time.
Many are penciling the Rangers in for a possible Wild Card spot, but I personally do not see that happening. The Metro is a going to be a slugfest with other teams like the Devils and Flyers getting better, on top of the Caps, Canes, and Pens. The Atlantic is most likely set with Tampa, Boston, and Toronto at the top, leaving clubs like the Panthers, and Habs fighting for Wild Card spots. Yes, the Rangers certainly did get better with their additions, but we as fans have to realize that three spots (Kakko, Kravtsov, and Fox) will be taken up full time by rookies. As good as they are, the kids are still just 18, 19, and 21 years old playing in the NHL for the first time; they are bound to have their slumps.
On defense, both Marc Staal and Brady Skjei have questions to answer if they can bounce back. And there’s still a lot of question marks down the middle in the form of second year players Chytil, Andersson, And Howden. This year is going to be unlike any other in terms of excitement for many fans because of the youth movement and Trouba/Panarin acquisitions. Still, I don’t think they are a playoff team (I think they finish somewhere from 7-9 from the bottom), they can surprise me.
Here’s why the Rangers are playing with house money this year
In a year with massive turnover and a lot to look forward to, the Rangers, as mentioned before, are not a playoff team in my opinion. There are still far too many questions, and young players to make the jump. With expectations of K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist to make the jump to the NHL full time in 2020-2021, the Rangers want to dominate the 2020’s. The idea of “playing with house money” comes from two things.
1. If the Rangers do make the playoffs this year where many do not expect them to, they are ahead of the curve. Not to mention as fans, this is what we are rooting for.
2. If the Rangers don’t make the playoffs, there are plenty of reasons to not be upset about it, primarily the 2020 NHL Draft.
We want to see the “Baby Rangers” grow and progress this year. The additions of Panarin and Trouba puts the club ahead of the curve, and armed and loaded to start their hopeful dominance of the 2020’s. As mentioned previously, playoffs are a massive win, but if not it’s nothing to be upset about, and here’s why.
Now before I get attacked, I am not writing this as a “pro-tanker”. I am no longer in that boat. Last year I was, but claiming the prize of Kakko, and the turnover of this club has gotten me off it…….but with that said, it would not be a bad thing to be in the 2020 Draft Lottery. For those of you unfamiliar with the upcoming 2020 Draft, it has a chance to be the best in quite some time. With some superstar names such as Alexis Lafrenière, Quinton Byfield, Alexander Holtz, Lucas Raymond, Noel Gunler, Anton Lundell, Tim Stutzle, and many more, adding one more top flight prospect would not be the worst thing for the Blueshirts.
As a Rangers fan, I know that this is not the year, or the time just yet. Next year with Miller and Lundkvist added to the fold, and the young kids another year older, the Rangers will begin their next run as contenders. For 2019-2020, I want to see the kids develop, Zibanejad continue to master his game, and see what we have down the middle in Chytil, Andersson, and Howden. If they make the playoffs with this young team, I will be absolutely thrilled…..but like I mentioned before, if they don’t, it may not be the worst thing in world.