I listened to The Morning Skate Podcast this morning featuring the legend, Ron Duguay. It got me fired up thinking about this new look Rangers team. Everything is different. The coaching, the style of play, the young kids, it’s all new and fresh. A lot of people labeled this season a bust and that they should just tank. I don’t think that will happen and neither should any Rangers fan.
King Henrik has been tremendous over his tenure with the Rags. He has masked so many deficiencies that it drove me to the point where I started to hate him. The Rangers wasted so many years not improving where they needed it the most because they thought could just get by as long as the King was in net. Obviously I was right and really do think Hank should have been moved at one point. He is such a great goalie and I hate seeing great players never raising Lord Stanley’s Cup. But that’s for another blog….
This year will be interesting to say the least and if Hank really wants a challenge and test himself. He needs to get this team to the playoffs. I think it can be done. Here is my breakdown.
Right now the top three in the Atlantic seem to be set already with Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Boston. The only locks I see the in Metro are Pittsburgh and Washington. That leaves the New York Rangers fighting for 1 Metro spot and two wild card positions. Here are the teams that are left in the order in which I think they will finish.
- Philadelphia – solid team, similar to last year.
- Columbus – Panarin?
- Buffalo – most improved team, similar position to Rangers.
- Carolina – same old, same old.
- New Jersey – Hall takes a step back and so does this team.
- Florida – competitive.
- Islanders – every game will be 5-5.
- Detroit – not enough depth.
- Montreal – can Price stay healthy?
- Ottawa – LOL
On paper right now Rangers will be hovering in between Philadelphia and the Islanders. Here’s the thing. The Rags can absolutely catch teams off guard and win some games that makes them competitive. With the Flyers, Devils, Jackets and Rangers all competing for that last spot, which will most likely go to Philly, I can see the Rags punching a wild card ticket.
So this is my challenge for the King. Get this team to the playoffs. It’s going to be tough this year with the growing pains of some younger teammates, but as long as Hank is focused on hockey and not the outside distractions that NYC brings, he can steal points all season. Also having Georgiev to back him up will help tremendously. Don’t sleep on this goalie. He is very, very good and will be a nice relief for Hank in case of an injury.
The Rangers season starts Thursday against Nashville. This will be a great test and I think this young team wins a gritty 4-3 game. Take the over!