2010-2011 Team Preview - New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are a team everyone loves to hate. The Rangers have always been a high-paying team that throws cash at free agents and roster players alike. Glen Sather has something less than a spectacular reputation in the Big Apple, and some of his hideous roster moves are still haunting the Rangers. Wade Redden is only the most recent example of ludicrous mismanagement, but there are plenty. If the Rangers are going to do anything at all, they’ll need to rid themselves of the off-ice distractions, get another full-year of play from Gaborik, and have the pieces come together in just the right way, at just the right time. Oh, and Lundkvist doesn’t hurt.

Overview:

The best thing I can say about the Rangers is that they provide excellent fodder for anyone with a pulse. Mismanagement is something that, until recently, we could empathize with here in Los Angeles, but the team this year has some interesting pieces. Unfortunately they are fairly shallow at all positions, and important injuries at bad times could be crippling for their chances of making the playoffs. If Gaborik goes down and takes his scoring with him, there’s nobody on the roster that can fill that hole (not many in the league that could fill that hole, but still). The Rangers are not in the worlds easiest division either, and may struggle to make a serious impact in their own division, let alone the conference.

Key Players:

Marian Gaborik, Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Alexander Frolov

Offense:

Gaborik is one of the most electric forwards playing in the NHL these days. His skill and skating ability are nearly unmatched, but he has been injury-prone through most of his career. Of course it’s possible he just hated playing in Minnesota, so took any chance he could get to stay out of the lineup… suffice it to say, if Gaborik is in your lineup, you’ve got a gamebreaker suiting up. That’s good news. The bad news, is that behind Gaborik, the Rangers are somewhat lacking. Frolov will be suiting up for the Rangers this season, his first after departing Los Angeles. If he can finally capture what some have seen in him for years, he could be dangerous playing in NYC. Brandon Dubinsky, Vinny Prospal and others will provide supporting offense, and then of course there’s Avery. Yea, there sure is.

Defense:

Obviously starting from the crease, the Rangers look good. Lundqvist is a potential Vezina Trophy winner, and has some serious ability to steal games in New York. Martin Biron behind him isn’t great, but he’s a backup and will probably snag 12-15 games in relief and can do a serviceable job to be sure. In front of that duo, the Rangers will dress a crew of players including Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto. I see Del Zotto taking a bit of a step backwards in his second year in the league, but Girardi and Staal are both talented players. Here again they are susceptible to the injury bug. Losing Stall for a significant period of time could be devastating, and leave Lundvist dangerously exposed.

Prediction:

The Rangers appear to be cursed. Unlike other teams, the curse facing the Rangers is almost entirely self-inflicted. They overpay for every player (except the ones they actually need), and no matter how good the team looks on paper they somehow manage to screw it all up. It’s kinda sad watching from the outside. Could they do better this year? Sure, and the Cubs might win it all next season. C’mon though, it’s not going to happen. I see them finishing behind the Flyers, the Devils and the Penguins. Might they get into the playoffs? Sure, it’s the East, who knows. Don’t count on it though. Good work Sather…

Tags: Alexander Frolov Brandon Dubinsky Chicago Cubs Dan Girardi Glen Sather Henrik Lundqvist Marc Stall Marian Gaborik Martin Biron Michael Del Zotto Minnesota Wild New Jersey Devils New York Rangers Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Vinny Prospal Wade Redden

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