2013-14 Season Preview – New York Rangers

LAST SEASON

Regular Season: The Rangers didn’t score like many thought they might after acquiring Rick Nash, but they rode the ever-steady goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist and a tight defensive style to the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. 

Playoffs:  The first round was a homer series, as the Capitals won their first three games on home ice, as did the Rangers.  However, game 5 in Washington was the exception and the Rangers walked in and humiliated the Caps in D.C. by a score of 5-0.  The Rangers were then fodder for the Bruins, who were coming off some game 7 heroics of their own, and Boston eliminated the Rangers in 5 games.

 

May 25, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate a goal by New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) against the Boston Bruins in game five of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

CHANGES

Out: F Ryane Clowe, D Steve Eminger, D Matt Gilroy, D Roman Hamrlik

In: F Benoit Pouliot, F  Dominic Moore, D Justin Falk

Ready To Make The Jump: F J.T. Miller

 

BIG 3 FACTORS

1. Bye Bye Torts: The underacheivement as well as the way Brad Richards was treated in the playoffs led to John Tortorella being let go as head coach, essentially swapping coaches with the Vancouver Cancucks, and bringing in Alain Vigneault.  Its going to be a very different style, more of  a low-key approach, which might suit the Rangers style of play better.

2. Staal Return To Health: Marc Staal returning to full health after a scary eye injury last season will be a great boost to an already strong blue line.  His presence will allow all of the Rangers to fit roles better, and boost play at both ends of the ice.

3. Richards Return From Purgatory:  Whether or not he was lighting up the scoreboard at the time, banishing one of your top players and leaders to the press box in the middle of the playoffs wasn’t the right thing to do, and I don’t think Richards and Tortorella could have co-existed any longer.  Richards will get a fresh start under Vigneault and I think he will return to productivity in the new environment.

 

PROGNOSIS: The Rangers will be a better team now that Tortorella is gone, something I said at the time should have happened a month into the season. But what do I know?  The late season trade with Columbus to bring Derek Brassard to New York helped immensely, and now that  the Torts shadow is gone, the Rangers should blossom.

PREDICTION:  2nd Metropolitan Division

 

We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th.  As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings.  Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):

Predicted Finish Atlantic Metropolitan Central Pacific
1 Sept 9 Sept 8 Sept 7 Sept 6
2 Sept 5 Rangers Blues Sharks
3 Red Wings Flyers Predators Canucks
4 Maple Leafs Capitals Wild Ducks
5 Canadiens Hurricanes Avalanche Oilers
6 Lightning Islanders Jets Coyotes
7 Sabres Blue Jackets Stars Flames
8 Panthers Devils

Topics: 2013-14 Season Preview, Alain Vigneault, Brad Richards, Henrik Lundqvist, John Tortorella, New York Rangers

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