Their postseason fate came down to a shootout with Philadelphia in the final game of the regular season. The Rangers were on the wrong end of the result and sent into the offseason to wonder ‘what if’ while the Flyers came out on the right side of things, reached the playoffs and eventually the Stanley Cup Finals.
Management realizes how close the Rangers were to reaching the postseason for the fifth consecutive season. Their careful wading into the offseason free agent waters was evidence that management likes the makeup of this team.
Training camp got off to a rocky start. Captain Chris Drury has been ruled out for the preseason and at least the first week of the season after his left hand got in the way of a hard shot during a scrimmage. The 34-year old winger had been one of the most consistent players in the Rangers lineup.
Entering his second full year with the Rangers, Coach John Tortorella recently received a vote of confidence from management after just missing the playoffs last season.
The New York Rangers schedule is a friendly one, sending them on only one road trip longer than three games. New York opens the regular season at Buffalo and then visits the Islanders before hosting Toronto in their home opener.
The Rangers brought in backup Martin Biron to Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist who played a career-high 73 games last season. That was a New York Rangers single season record, but not a record the team wanted to break. Biron finally gives the Rangers a legitimate second option behind Lundqvist. Winger Derek Boogaard comes over from Minnesota to replace the departed Jody Shelley (Philadelphia) in the role of enforcer.
New York’s most significant move was bringing in winger Alexander Frolov from Los Angeles. He scored 19 goals and added 32 assists last season and could be in store for a huge season if he ends up playing on the same line with Marian Gaborik.
Another offseason move of sorts was the Rangers coming to terms with 2008 second-round draft pick Derek Stepan back in July. There is a chance Stepan could make the NHL roster and be paired with Gaborik and Frolov on the top line.
The Rangers made one of their most important offseason moves when they came to terms with No. 1 defenseman Marc Staal on a five-year deal, thus preventing a potential holdout and headache.
New York Rangers NHL Season Predictions: Outlook
The Rangers realized how close they were to the playoffs last season and they avoided an offseason shakeup. Their biggest moves included bringing in a backup goalkeeper and coming to terms with a top draft pick and a top defenseman. While the Rangers were tweaking minor things, Atlantic Division rivals New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were involved in an arms race. Competing in the Atlantic Division will be an uphill climb for the Rangers.
New York Rangers Futures Odds
Rangers are a longshot to win the Atlantic Division. Consider this: their NHL odds to win the division (+2000) are the same as their odds to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Their odds to win the Eastern Conference are +4000 and +5000 to win the Stanley Cup. After winning 38 games last season, the Rangers season win total ‘over/under’ is 40.5.
NHL Predictions for New York Rangers
The Rangers will have a hard time breaking into the top three of the Atlantic Division. They are not a legitimate division title contender, but the playoffs are certainly a possibility. They won 38 games last season and they will be lucky to reach that mark again. Expect the Rangers to stay ‘under’ 40.5 wins.
Doc Moseman is one of the pioneers of the NHL handicapping industry. Check out his Web site for up-to -the-minute NHL Odds and his famous winning hockey picks.