At The Athletic, Dom Luszczyszyn crunches numbers and says that with the moves the Rangers have made this offseason they have added 6 more wins.
The calculations take into account the Rangers adding of Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin, losing Jimmy Vesey and Neal Pionk but not Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov. (The Athletic)
He notes though that while the Rangers should be “much improved” this coming season, they still may fall short of the playoffs. (The Athletic)
Jeff Gorton said that the Rangers “did a good job” in fixing their defense and that if they can be better in their own zone then Henrik Lundqvist “can still win a lot of games for us.” (ESPN)
The Rangers finished last season 32-26-14 but their 26 regulation wins was the fewest in the NHL.
By month they went:
- October: 4-7-1 (1 OT win, 2 shootout wins, 1 OT loss)
- November: 9-4-1 (2 shootout wins, 1 OT loss)
- December: 4-3-5 (3 OT losses, 2 shootout losses)
- January: 5-7
- February: 5-5-3 (1 shootout win, 3 OT losses)
- March: 4-8-3 (1 OT win, 1 OT loss, 2 shootout losses)
- April: 1-2-1 (1 OT win, 1 shootout loss)
John Davidson told ESPN that right now the Rangers “aren’t anywhere yet” and that growing pains should be expected with a team is going “very, very young.” (ESPN)
The Rangers were listed 14th in ESPN‘s power rankings.
The Hockey News recently listed the Rangers 20th in their list of teams with the most pressure heading into 2019-20, writing “a rebuild shouldn’t create pressure in theory, but any team adding Panarin, Trouba and Kakko will be counted on to improve dramatically year over year.”
On the NHL Network on 7/17, Mike Johnson said “I think they still need to work on their defense a little bit. Artemi Panarin is a gamebreaker that they will love on Broadway and MSG, Jacob Trouba is an underrated defenseman, they have a lot of good pieces but I still think they need to solidify and fine tune their defense corp and system. Their goaltending with Lundqvist and Georgiev should be pretty good, just not so sure of their defense yet. I think they should be battling for a wild card spot, I’m not comfortable locking them into a playoff spot today.”
Adam Rotter: Everything about improvement with the Rangers comes from being better in their own zone, allowing fewer shots and Henrik Lundqvist making that extra save most nights. They should be fun to watch when they have the puck with Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich leading the charge, Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov adding skill and Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson and Brett Howden continuing their development. There are still situations up front that need to be resolved, Chris Kreider and Vlad Namestnikov, but the biggest questions for the Rangers are still on defense and which players will actually come over the boards.
Expectations for the Rangers will certainly be higher this coming season but they are far from a playoff lock. The Rangers added Trouba and Panarin not to skip steps and jump back to the playoffs at all costs but for them to join Mika Zibanejad and numerous young players to create a core that is, hopefully, only a couple of years from not just being locks for the playoffs, but Metro division winners and Stanley Cup contenders. They should be competitive, fun to watch and in the playoff mix but, like last year, development will be the key focus. The idea is to build a team that can contend year after year and while things are heading in the right direction they aren’t there yet.