New York Islanders Metropolitan Division Stronger After Free Agency
New York Rangers
Ah, the Rangers. The Ne York Islanders cross-river rivals. They’ve had a very active offseason as they remake their roster to keep up with the rest of the league as they chase a cup for Henrik Lundqvist.
It lead the Blueshirts to move first-line center Derek Stepan to the Arizona Coyotes for a first-round pick in 2017. A pick they used to select, from Swedish League champions HV71 Lias Andersson seventh overall.
That top line center spot would now belong to Mika Zibanejad. The Rangers hope that the young Swede they picked up from the Ottawa Senators int he Derek Brassard trade can produce at the same level his predecessor did.
New York Rangers Off-Season Moves:
Eighteen points separated Stepan and Zibanejad last season. Although to be fair, Zibanejad missed a ton of hockey last season after breaking his fibula against the Florida Panthers in November.
The other major acquisition for the Rangers was former St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Landing the coveted defenseman in free agency remakes the Rangers entire blueline.
Must Read: What Isles Need to Know About Shattenkirk
Shattenkirk is a great offensive threat from the blueline. He’s scored no less than 43 points in a season since entering the league. Excluding the lockout-shortened year of course.
The Rangers are still pretty much the same. They’ve lost some production up top, but they’ve added more at the back end. Anything less than 100 points and the playoffs would be a failure.