The NHL regular season is just around the corner. In anticipation, Eyes on Isles takes a look at every team in our division. What have they done to their roster, have they improved, and how will the New York Islanders fair against them?
The New York Rangers are in a bit of a crisis. Is their window still open? Or has it slammed shut? Either way, the Rangers have made some significant alterations to their roster. They going to look decidedly different when they lineup for their opener against the New York Islanders on October 13th.
This is the final installment in our eight-part series looking at the Metropolitan Division. To get a look at our seven other previews see the links below:
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Washington Capitals
- New Jersey Devils
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Pittsburgh Penguins
Additions and Substractions
The Bare Draft Cupboard
The Rangers started the 2016 offseason with a whimper on draft day. The Rangers made six selections in the draft last June, none of them came earlier than the third round.
As a result of trades in years past the Ranger’s draft cupboard was left bare. In fact, ESPN recently gave the Rangers prospect pool the worst ranking in the league. Sure, someone has to be last, but this wasn’t just be
Sure, someone has to be last, but this ranking isn’t because other teams are better. The Rangers have made a habit of trading away prospects to get players today. A strategy that has almost worked. They went to the conference finals twice and the Stanley Cup finals once in the last five years.
It’s All on Lundqvist
Those young players are going inject some much-needed life into the Rangers squad. Zibanejad is a quality center that almost assures them 40-50 points. And if Jimmy Vesey’s recent signature saga reveals anything, the recent NCAA Hobey Baker winner seems like a bonafide star.
But the biggest impact for the Rangers is what they lost, Keith Yandle. The 53 point defenceman left for greener pastures in Florida. That still sounds odd.
His puck moving ability will be a big hole that the Rangers just haven’t addressed in the off-season. The Rangers were one of the worst possession teams last season with a 5-on-5 Corsi-for of 47.4%.
Henrik Lundqvist, now 34-years-old, is going to be relied upon heavily this season. As is generally the norm. Lundqvist is one of arguably two elite goaltenders in the league. But at his age, his effectiveness is bound to slip.
The Islanders took the season series against the Rangers last year, going four-for-four against their most bitter rival. This season should feature more of the same for the Islanders as they leapfrog the Rangers into an automatic playoff spot.