Although The New York Rangers season debut isn’t until tomorrow against the AVs, hockey is finally upon us. Today is the day we have been anxiously waiting for since May 9th.
If this video doesn’t get you pumped up for tomorrow, I’m not sure what will.
Since the deflation we all experienced with our playoff exit last year, the Rangers have had a good amount of roster shake up. Most notably the addition of Kevin Shattenkirk, our 21st overall pick Filip Chytil , and back up net minder Ondrej Pavlec along with the subtractions of Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi, and Anti Raanta.
A lot of young role players have some big shoes to fill, and it’s time for them to step up. Players like Krieder, DJ ZBAD, Miller, and Hayes need to step up to have career years for this team to make a serious impact in the league.
With Shatty dueces coming home, we look to build on last years power play percentage which was 20.2%, up 2% from the ’15-’16 season. Shattenkirk is most known for his PP puck moving skills, as well as being a reliable defender. Hopefully with Shattenkirk’s experience we can add another 2%-3% onto our PP% and put some pucks in the back of the net.
Chytil has impressed everyone beyond expectations. The barely 18 year old, has put up 3 points in 4 games during the preseason. Chytil has looked really strong on the Power Play, handling the puck, and has a big frame for an 18 year old. This is why Chytil cracked the roster over our 7th overall pick Lias Andersson, who was sent back to HC Frolunda in the SHL. Chytil’s play is also why Miller isn’t starting the season at center, which is something we all thought would be imminent. If Chytil’s play is adequate, expect to seem him break the 9 game try out and be a main stay on the Rangers roster this year.
Here is my Projected opening night line up:
|Chris Kreider||Mika Zibanejad||Mats Zuccarello|
|Rick Nash||Kevin Hayes||JT Miller|
|Jimmy Vesey||Filip Chytil||Pavel Buchnevich|
|Michael Grabner||David Desharnais||Paul Carey|
|Ryan McDonagh||Kevin Shattenkirk|
|Brady Skeji||Brendan Smith|
|Marc Staal||Anthony DeAngelo|
With the loss of Raanta, we need Pavlec to really step up his game and be a reliable back up for the King. The older Lundqvist has gotten the more we have relied on a back up. Pavlec hasn’t had much luck over recent years with injury and poor play putting him behind Connor Hellebuyck on the Jets depth chart. Rangers fans have been spoiled with the play of Tablot and Raanta over the past few years. In working with Benoit Allaire, and Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers fans will have to pray Pavlec will return to ’14’-’15 form where he posted a 2.28 GAA with a .920 save percentage.
Jesper Fast was in a contract jersey for the first time today, after recovering from off-season hip surgery.
Fast skating in regular jersey for the first time at NYR prax
— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) October 4, 2017
We only have one right handed forward (DJ Z-bad), unless Fast manages to get a start on one full contact practice. Hopefully soon we can get him into the mix so we can have another right handed shot on the ice.
Although all of us really want to see Staal ride the pine all year, I don’t think Vingeault will bench Staal due to past decisions of AV neglecting to sit him. Hopefully Staal will be a rotating sixth D man with Holden. If either of them have solid play, look to see them stick in the 6th man role. This will help build trade value so we can get rid of one of those bums for something rather than nothing.
With all this being said I can’t wait to get home sit on my couch, drink beers and watch hockey all night. The anticipation for tomorrow is slowly killing me but I guess any hockey tonight will be able to hold me over till tomorrow.