New York, NY (NYSportscene.com) – New York Sportscene contributing writer Dan Mount will offer his outlook on the 2014-25 season for the Rangers, Islanders and Devils in this three part series.
Part 1 – New York Rangers 2014-15 Season Outlook
NEW YORK RANGERS
Last year: (45-31-6, 2nd in Metropolitan Division, lost in Stanley Cup final to Los Angeles, four games to one.)
Who’s in: D Dan Boyle, F Ryan Malone, G Cedric Desjardins, RW Chris Muller, F Tanner Glass, F Lee Stempniak, C Matthew Lombardi, F Nick Tarnasky, LW Chris Bourque, F Kevin Hayes, D Mike Kostka, D Matt Hunwick)
Who’s gone: F Derek Dorrsett, F Benoit Pouliot, C Brad Richards, F Brian Boyle, D Anton Stralman, D Stu Bickel, D Justin Faulk, F Daniel Carcillo, D Raphael Diaz.
Goalies: The Rangers arguably have the best goalie in the game in Henrik Lundqvist. The King won a pair game sevens over the Flyers and Penguins in the postseason. The Rangers also have Cam Talbot, who was a capable backup and gave The King some much needed rest. Cedric Desjardins can step in if there’s an injury.
Forwards: New top-line center Derek Stepan is out with a broken leg for probably the first month. Rick Nash needs to step up and did in the 3-2 win over St. Louis. Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard were revelations last season. Chris Kreider could have a breakout season for the Rangers. Martin St. Louis helped will this team into the final after the death of his mother. Dominic Moore was a surprise after dealing with the death of his wife. The bottom six forwards will be young and hungry. Forwards started to thrive later in the season under coach Alain Vigneault’s new attack-first system.
Defense: Ryan McDonagh was named captain and will be expected to lead. Dan Girardi was inconsistent in spots. Dan Boyle will carry the power-play, but is out for over a month with a broken hand. Kevin Klein and Kostka will have to shoulder some of the load.
Coaching: Alain Vigneault got his feet under him after a rough first couple of months, but the Rangers flourished late in the season. They still play solid defense even though there was a change from John Tortorella. Power-play looked solid in spots, but disappeared for spots in the playoffs.
What to expect: The Rangers have some injuries, but could make a run if they can weather the storm. Lundqvist can carry the club if needed. I think they’ll be in play for a first-line center if they can clear cap space.
Projection: 2nd in division, conference finals appearance.
Dan Mount is the editor of the Hockey Sentinel. He also covers the Rangers, Devils and Islanders for NYSportScene.com.