The New York Rangers were one of the luckiest teams in the NHL this offseason. While the team was swept by the Carolina Hurrincanes in the qualifying round of last year’s playoffs, they also won the draft lottery, giving them the right to pick Alexis Lafreniere.
He will make an immediate impact on the team alongside many of the Rangers’ other young stars. But the team might not be ready to take that next step, as our NHL predictions for the Rangers in 2021 show.
What to See From the Rangers
The Rangers have some of the best young players in the NHL, including forwards Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Ryan Strome. But while Zibanejad was a dark horse candidate for the Art Ross Trophy last season, the team doesn’t have as much offensive depth beyond these players.
The hope for the Blueshirts is to have Alexis Lafreniere make an immediate impact on the team as he joins the league. While first-round pick Kaapo Kakko showed some strides last season, he will still require extra help in moving forward. The departures of Jesper Fast and Marc Staal this offseason won’t make things any easier.
The Rangers will have some defensemen to watch this season, including newcomer Jack Johnson from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Anthony DeAngelo and Adam Fox will both be exciting defensemen to watch in the years to come.
Camp starts in less than two weeks 😁 pic.twitter.com/0FVmFLgSid
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 21, 2020
The team’s power play will be something to watch this season. The Rangers saw a power play efficiency level of about 23 percent this past season. The Rangers have enough talent to move forward in this aspect of the game, although the team would need to draw more penalties if they were to succeed.
A Goaltending Change
Henrik Lundqvist has moved on from the Rangers, as he joined the Washington Capitals this offseason. Alexandar Georgiev is anticipated to be the new starter for the Rangers in goal. He saw some growing pains last season, as he had a 3.04 GAA and a 91 percent save percentage. Replacing someone like Lundqvist that had been on the team for a while will be a challenge, but it is a necessity for the team as they try to compete.
Where Will the Rangers Finish in the Division?
We predict the New York Rangers will finish in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. The lack of depth on the team’s roster is a problem that will be tough to manage. The team also needs to look at how its goaltending situation is working.
The Rangers will need patience with Georgiev as he takes in more playing time this season. He has a good opportunity to be a top player in New York, although competing night in and night out at Madison Square Garden is always intimidating for anyone to try and complete.
Will the Rangers Make the Playoffs?
It would be tough for the Rangers to reach the playoffs this season. We do not have them getting in the playoffs in our current NHL predictions, but the team will still have better days ahead.
The young core is still evolving, and there is hope with the team landing the best prospect in the game that they will go forward. It won’t be this year, but you can expect them to be good contenders in 2022 and beyond.
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