In their first season under new head coach Alain Vigneault,
the New York Rangers went 45-31-6 (96 points) and made it to the Stanley Cup
Dan Boyle – D Brad
Richards – C
Lee Stempniak – RW Anton
Stralman – D
Chris Mueller – C Benoit
Pouliot – LW
Tanner Glass – LW Brian
Boyle – C
Mike Kostka – D Daniel
Carcillo – LW
Matthew Lombardi – C Stu
Bickel – D
Matt Hunwick – D
Cedrick Desjardins – G
It was the Rangers’ first Stanley Cup Finals appearance
since they won the Cup in 1993-94. After a 20 year wait, the Rangers were
unsuccessful in their attempt to win the fifth Stanley Cup in franchise
Despite a strong year, the Rangers are going to look vastly
different in 2014-15. They lost Brad Richards, Anton Stralman, Benoit Pouliot
and Brian Boyle to name a few, but added some veterans to fill the void. They
lost a defensive defenseman in Stralman and replaced him with a 38-year-old
offensive defenseman, Dan Boyle. He will likely slot in on the second pair with
Marc Staal and line-up along side Ryan McDonagh on the top power-play unit.
Last year Boyle had 12 goals and 24 assists (36 points) in 75 games, so he may
have lost a step but he is still going to pile up points. McDonagh on the other
hand is great offensively and defensively. His 14 goals were tied for sixth
among defensemen and he should be right around that total again in 2014-15.
Those defensemen have the luxury of playing in front of one
of the NHL’s best goaltenders, Henrik Lundqvist. King Henrik finished 2013-14
with a 33-24-5 record, 2.36 GAA and .920 SV%, both of which ranked 15th in the
NHL. He is as steady as they come. In nine NHL seasons he has won 53.8 percent
of his starts while posting a 2.26 GAA and .920 SV%. He will have Cam Talbot as
his backup for the second straight season. Talbot was 12-6-1 with a 1.64 GAA,
.941 SV% and three shutouts in his rookie season. He will be one of fantasy’s
best spot start options again this season.
Up front, their top line will be the same as last season
with Derek Stepan centring Rick Nash and Chris Kreider. Stepan hasn’t missed a
game in his four NHL seasons and 2013-14 was his best year to date. He recorded
17 goals and 40 assists (57 points). With talented linemates, he will get to 40
assists and could be in store for a 20-40 season. Nash was not a huge factor in
the playoffs, but during the regular season he has 30-plus goal potential. John
Tortorella leaves town and Kreider has a great year, coincidence? Definitely.
Kreider played nearly 16 minutes a night and he took advantage of them. He had
17 goals and 37 points in 66 games, so a healthy 2014-15 could produce a 25-25
The offence doesn’t stop there. Martin St. Louis will have a
full season in the Big Apple and he is a safe bet to lead the team in points.
Without Steven Stamkos he likely won’t be a point-per-game player, but he will
be close. With Richards walking in free agency, Derick Brassard will move from
the third to second line. He’ll be 27 by the time the season starts, but the
extra year won’t suddenly turn him into a 60-point player. He’ll wind up in the
mid-40’s with a shot at 50. The Rangers are hoping 21-year-old J.T Miller will
finally be able to make the leap to the NHL for a full season. He has played 56
games over two seasons, but has only tallied 10 points (5G / 5A). For a two-way
forward, his 43 points in 41 AHL games shows he has some offensive upside.
Last season New York was able to rely on three lines for
production, but this season it will likely be more of a two-line attack. Mats Zuccarello led the team in points last season on a very productive third line,
but if he lands in the bottom-6 again, expect some regression, but not much–he
is more than a shootout specialist now.
Season prediction: The Rangers will finish second in the
View the Rangers’ entire roster and cap space heading into
the 2014-15 season.