New York Rangers: 2022-23 Season Previewby Liz Pendergraft October 11, 2022 0 comments
Last season, the New York Rangers were 52-24-6 with 110 points. They were looking like a team on the rise, ready to take on any opponent in their way. The Rangers exceeded everyone’s expectations when they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals this past playoff season. Therefore, it is easy to think or believe that they will make strides this season. However, they had quite a few issues that were covered up or negated by the goaltending of Igor Shesterkin. Some were addressed at the deadline, but now, those players are no longer on the team. Also, they have said goodbye to players like Ryan Strome and Alexandar Georgiev.
Everyone will be waiting to see if last season’s trip through the playoffs was a fluke or if the Rangers have something they can build on and improve.
Be sure to keep up with all of our NHL coverage.
How Does the Offense Look?
Chris Kreider is coming off a career year with 52 goals in 81 games, which made him third in the league last season. Mika Zibanejad is still the best center on the team and their not-so-secret weapon on the power play and 5v5. Vincent Trocheck has been added to the mix, so it will be interesting to see how this will change the dynamic of the offense, for better or worse.
The “Kid Line” will need to step up this season. Can the young players on the offense grow into core players? Ideally, there should be at least one or two. However, even if none of them mature into core players, they will need to step up significantly this season in some form or fashion to help the Rangers get back to the playoffs.
Will the Defense Step Up?
The top two pairings on the defense are solid. Consistency will be the key to wins and points; however, if consistency cannot be found, then the season will be a long one. Especially if they are unable to help their goalie out. They have shown signs throughout last season, but one step forward and two steps back appeared to be the name of the game.
There is no doubting Adam Fox will be a significant contributor on the ice defensively. His partner in crime, Ryan Lindgren, will be sure to join him on any adventures. Jacob Trouba, who now wears the “C”, will still be doing his thing. Zac Jones and Braden Schneider will likely be the third pair, but they still have Libor Hajek on the roster to utilize if necessary. However, it is uncertain how consistent the third pairing will be this season.
Shesterkin In Net
Shesterkin cannot carry the team as he did last season. Will he be able to keep up the level of play that won him the Vezina last season? Only time will tell. Undoubtedly, he will be one of the top goalies in the NHL, but if he does not get any support from his team, his ability to stop the puck will not make up for it for much longer.
Jaroslav Halak will be his backup for now it seems. Halak won 14 out of 17 games last season as a backup for the Vancouver Canucks. He was looking fairly decent in the preseason, and for the number of games he will play, he should make a decent backup for the rangers.
Who Are Some Key Players?
It is hard to choose which players need to step up when the entire team will need to do so. Just because they made it to the Eastern Conference Final does not mean it will happen again. Many point to injuries and pure luck getting them through as far as they went in the playoffs. It is also interesting to note that the Rangers have welcomed back Jimmy Vesey to the Garden, signing him to a one-year contract. He was looking good during the preseason games, so it is no wonder they offered a spot to him. Now he will have to play to keep that spot.
Many who have watched Kakko play have complained repeatedly about his lack of improvement or the snail’s pace at which he is improving. Kakko will need to step up big this season to prove all the naysayers wrong and to show that he belongs on the ice in the Garden.
Miller looks poised to join the rest of the defense as a top performer. There was much improvement throughout last season, and as preseason ends, he looks even more like an NHL defenseman. He has the ability within him to surpass Trouba and Lindgren and be close to the level we see in Fox.
Now that the rangers have talked Kravtsov into coming back into the fold, his preseason was not looking too great. The Rangers will be holding onto hope that he can play and compete at the NHL level, as some believe he can.
Chytil was an integral part of the Rangers last season in the postseason. He will need to continue to make his presence known on the ice. Hopefully, the postseason was a wake-up call to show him exactly what is possible if he focuses more.
Panarin needs to have the season of his career. We know he is capable of it. At times it appears he is trying to help set up his teammates. However, Panarin is clearly capable of taking matters, or the puck, onto his stick and showing the hockey world why he is a great player.
Three Bold Season Predictions
- Kreider will have another 50+ goal season
- The Rangers will make it back to the Eastern Conference Final
- Fox will win the Norris, and Shesterkin will win the Vezina
Record Prediction: 54-20-8, 116 Points
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images