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Rangers preview from Rags to riches

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LAST SEASON 47-22-13 107 points 3rd in Division. Lost heartbreaking series to the Devils in first round costing Coach Gallant his job. PLUS 58 GOAL differential, 4th least goals against in Hockey.


ADDITIONS New coach Peter Laviolette continues his assault on his attempt to coach every team in this Division. Blake Wheeler brings skill and experience to the third line. Bonino is an underrated 4th line pivot and penalty killer. Gustafsson can score 50 points if the Rangers can hide his defensive deficiencies on the back end. Quick is the new flavor of the day as the backup goalie.


DEPARTURES Gallant is a favorite of mine but in spite of 107 points never seemed to be a great fit. Halak is done. Deadline adds Kane, Taresenko and Motte were not welcomed back.


PROSPECTS I like Will Cuylle as a forward prospect but he is stuck behind a logjam and will have to hope for injuries to get a shot. Zac Jones seemed a shoe in to bring his offensive game to the back end in Broadway before the signing of Gustafsson, he will still make a push. Brennan Othmann is a 3rd line heat seeking missile waiting to happen but needs to earn a job. All three are impressive prospects with no clear path to an NHL job on a team that prefers veteran players. All may find a home- or be part of a package at the deadline for more veterans.


SO ARE THEY CONTENDERS? They have the best goaltender in Hockey. The veteran players are hungry and wanting to win. They are deep and talented everywhere.


  They win the Divison. Caroline will take a step back, Jersey is the future but what goes up usually finds its level the next year and i am still not sold on their goaltending. Rangers win the Division, beat Toronto to advance to the Stanley Cup finals in the ECF. In the same way that Tampa was embarrassed by a 4 game sweep to Columbus and learned from it to win back to back cups and make three straight finals, the Rangers are ouching from losing to the Devils and 23-24 will be their revenge tour. 

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