Last Season – The Rangers won the Eastern Conference regular season title with a 51-24-7 record and 109 points. They beat the Ottawa Senators in round 1, and Washington in round 2, both in 7 games. They fell to the Devils in 6 games in the Conference final.
Ready to Step In – Kris Kreider may not benefit from his playoff appearance last season, because expectations will be high. However, he is NHL talent and will be a contender for Rookie of the year, while providing some secondary offense.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Marc Staal played just over half a season and registered only 5 points and 16 PIMs. He has moved down the depth chart for the Rangers with the emergence of Girardi, McDonaugh and Del Zotto. Staal should reassert his spot as one of the top all-around young defensemen in the NHL.
Hardware Hopefuls – Rick Nash, Rocket Richard; Henrik Lundqvist, Vezina
Upside – The rich get richer as Nash will bring some offense to complement one of the stingiest defensive units in hockey. People forget how dominant Nash can be, and for the first time he will have quality players to play with.
Downside – They will miss the grit and sandpaper that Prust provided as a player who could play at a high level while being a deterrent and standing up for his teammates.
2013 Prognosis – While fending off the Penguins and Flyers for the division crown might be a challenge, the Rangers should score more than they did last year without compromising much defensively. They will be in the mix in May, and if Nash, Gaborik and Richards develop some chemistry, they will be as potent a line as there is in hockey.