The preseason is about to begin and the hype of a new season is upon us ready to go crazy with all kinds of expectations. Since the infamous rebuild “letter” the New York Rangers have acquired a numerous amount of young players, prospects, and draft picks with their eyes on the future.
The future is finally here for the Rangers as the rebuild is coming to a close.
While this season will likely not end with a parade down the Canyon of Heroes, there are most definitely high expectations on this group of Rangers. After last year ended on a bitter note for the Blueshirts, owner Jim Dolan showed he wasn’t satisfied with just showing progress slowly. He wants results and he wants them sooner rather than later. Chris Drury saw that and made moves just to that effect.
The Rangers now have a much more diverse roster than they did the last few years. Jeff Gorton and John Davidson had a much more skilled heavy roster and there wasn’t as much sandpaper in the lineup. Not to say that they wouldn’t have gone the same route as Drury had Dolan let them finish out their vision but nevertheless this roster will now be tougher to go up against. This won’t be the same Rangers team that was easily pushed around by the Islanders and company last season.
One of my biggest fears about the Rangers as they were building their roster up until this offseason was that they were going to become too one dimensional like the Toronto Maple Leafs and just focus on one end of the ice and be too easy to play against. While many didn’t like the shift in the Rangers getting grittier it gives them a roster that compliments each other and each line will be able to bring a different dynamic each and every shift. It also gives new bench boss, Gerard Gallant different options for matchups each and every night which can’t be understated.
This Rangers club shouldn’t win a Cup this season but this year should be the beginning of a very special run on Broadway. From going from a coach with little to no idea of what it takes to win in the NHL to a coach who was three wins from winning a Cup will do wonders for not only the veterans but the youth on the roster. Veterans like Ryan Reaves and Barclay Goodrow, who know what it takes to win in this league, will help bring true veteran leadership to such a young club. Also the mindset of Gallant, Reaves, and Goodrow that they will bring will help replace that which the Rangers have lost in the previous years in Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, and Ryan McDonagh. It was evident last year with many of the clubs issues that they were truly missing some hard nosed leaders in the locker room, that certainly won’t be the case this season.
Like I said before, this season will likely not end in a Stanley Cup parade but it will become the first building block in a perennial Cup contender on Broadway. While last year the expectation was development of young talent and hopefully postseason if things broke right, it needs to be playoffs or bust for the Rangers this season. If there’s no spring hockey at MSG this season then something has gone drastically wrong.
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