New York Rangers 2014-2015 Season Preview: Break Through the “Closed Window”

Nobody think it’s the Rangers year. They’re too old where they need youth and they have youth when they need vets. The window is closed apparently. The Rangers didn’t make any flashy additions to this years squad. No, the Rangers did what good hockey teams do, they kept their core together for the most part. This team is strapped for cap space, which led to a few tears shed sending guys away because they couldn’t pay ’em. But make no mistakes, this is a team that is reloaded and ready to go. They’re to get the king his mothafuckin crown. They’ll watch the Blackhawks raise the banner tonight, but they know they have what it takes to be doing the same thing 365 days from now.

henrik-lundqvist-wwd

Goodbye’s suck

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  • Glenn Sather and the Rangers finally parted ways, well kinda, Sather stepped down as the GM in July but is remaining on as the team President. Pretty much the same thing Phil Jackson is doing with the Knicks. Master delegator. Now it’s time for Jeff Gorton, Sather’s GM in training the last four years, to captain this ship to a Cup. I have 100% faith in every decision that Sather makes, so if he says Gorton’s the guy, then Gorton’s the guy.
  • Swaglin was traded to the Ducks during the draft for a couple of draft picks and Emerson Etem, where he signed the big contract extension the Rangers weren’t willing to give him. Good for Haglin, he’s a great hockey player and loved being a Ranger. Farewell Stonehands. Now it’s all about who is going to step up. While he wasn’t a sniper by any means, Hags stretched the ice for the Rangers with his speed. It’ll be tough to find a guy who can replicate that.
  • Prince Talbot was dealt on draft day as well, but he’ll be taking his pads to Canada, as Gorton shipped Talbot to the Oilers for three draft picks. Everybody was hoping that the Rangers would be able to land a first rounder after the year that Talbot had in place on Lundqvist, but instead Gorton showed through this draft by stockpiling draft picks, that he’s looking to rebuild the depth in a Rangers farm system that need replenishing.
  • Marty St. Louis is gone. The end of a great career for a great hockey player and a great guy. Sure, he lost a step at the end, and that was particularly evident in the playoffs this year when he just looked flat out tired. St Louis will always be remembered for his amazing career in Tampa Bay, but his year and a half with the Rangers was a memorable ride that Rangers fans won’t soon forget. The Rangers don’t get to the Stanley Cup in 2014 if St. Louis isn’t on the roster. Sad to see him go, but it’s going to be great to see another young guy get a shot

Projected lineups

First Line: Mats Zuccarello-Derick Brassard-Rick Nash

Second Line: J.T. Miller-Derek Stepan-Chris Kreider

Third Line: Jesper Fast-Kevin Hayes-Viktor Stalberg

Fourth Line: Oscar Lindberg-Dominic Moore-Emerson Etem/Jarret Stoll

Bench/Scratch: Tanner Glass

The Rangers success on the offensive side of the ice came came because Vigneault was able to roll four lines and keep everybody fresh. We know more or less what we’re going to get from the top two lines. They’re ultra fast and can rival any top six in the league. Everybody is expecting a big year from Kreider, this is supposed to be the year he makes the leap into being an elite forward. He has all the tools, he shows all the flashes, and if he can put it all together this year the Rangers have a shot to be the top offense in the league, like they were last year. Some new faces, Viktor Stalberg is a scornig threat who struggled in Nashville, but should benefit from having a Center like Kevin Hayes on his line and an emerging winger in Fast. Oscar Lindberg should be a nice surprise this year and Etem and Stoll will likely split time.

Defense:

First line: Dan Girardi-Ryan McDonaugh

Second Line: Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Third line: Keith Yandle-Kevin Klein

Bench/Scratch:Dylan McIlrath

The Rangers defense is frighteningly good. First pairing of Girardi and Captain McDonaugh is a lockdown combo that’s a threat on both sites of the ice. Marc Staal and Dan Boyle is a fantastic offensive pairing that plays the blue line very well. These guys both play an offensive defense, so that will probably lead them to be the weak link defensively of the three pairs, which will be super frustrating, but if they can stay healthy, they will definitely help move the puck on offense and Dan Boyle will hopefully provide a spark on the powerlplay, even though he had trouble with that at times last season. Yandle-Klein is an interesting combo, it’s the ultra-offensive minded Yandle and the ultra-defensive minded play style of Klein. Yandle didn’t do much in the regular season after Sather sent the farm to Phoenix for him, but you started to see him break out in the Capitals series and the Lighting series, hopefully he carries that into this season.

 

Projections/Expectations: Don’t expect this Rangers team to compete for the Presidents Trophy like they did last season. They probably won’t be near the very top of the standings and there will probably be a few times this year where I’m ready to push the panic button. But we just all have to remember that this is a veteran Ranger team, a team with playoff experience. That’s the difference between this Rangers team and the one that made a miracle run to the cup two seasons ago. That team didn’t know how good they were. They came out and showed it last year by winning the Presidents Trophy and coming within one game of back to back cup appearances. They know how good they are now.

This team is going to go about it’s bussiness as usual in the regular season. Watch for them to be in the middle of the pack until the middle of March or so when they see the playoffs on the horizon. Like a horse coming around the stretch, this team will put it all together, take a top three seed in the East, and then we all know the goal from there. It’s another Stanley Cup or bust season. Not because there’s any window or anything stupid like that, but because they absolutetly still have the talent to win it all. Oh and they have some guy named Henrik Lundqvist who is arguably one of the best playoff goalies in NHL history. This is virtually the same team that had the best offense in the NHL last year, one of the best defenses last year and the best looking goalie on this planet or any other. In hockey it’s more about chemistry and experience than almost anything else, and the Rangers have that in spades. Rick Nash is still so hot, McDonaugh is a sneaky pick to win the Norris trophy, and as long as the king of Sweeden is between the pipes, the “window” is open.

Prediction: Rangers finish second in Metropolitan, third in the East, and go own to beat the Ducks in the Stanley Cup.

 

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Trump likes it. Let’s go Rangers!!!!!

 

 

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