One of the best defensive teams in the NHL last season backed by one of the game's elite goalies in Henrik Lundqvist, the young blueline led by Marc Staal and Dan Girardi will take another step forward in 2011-12. The area the Rangers needed improvement on was offense and that was addressed by adding the summer's top free agent, playmaking center Brad Richards. How much will Richards help the Blueshirts? Well, he doesn't automatically make them a powerhouse, but the thought of him alongside sniper Marian Gaborik is tantalizing. The Rangers can't be worse after improving their greatest need, but also won't jump too far ahead of where they were a year ago.
...i know a lot of you are thinking that the acquisition of Richards automatically puts the Rangers in the top 4 in the East, but I'm with The Hockey News here. I don't see too big of a jump for the Rangers. I say best case scenario would be the #6 seed.
The Hockey News also feels that Richards and Tortorella's return to Tampa with the Rangers on December 3rd is a Top 10 game to watch this season.
now are you saying that we are still a bottom ranked team and cant make a cup run/win? Cause I believe we can win the cup with this team
A higher place finish is totally a possibility, Totes McGoats.
The team is better than last year. You don't know how Philly is going to do with the drastic changes they underwent. Cindy doesn't have a clear timetable for coming back in Pitt. I can see them jumping up to #5.
For me the best case scenario is 4th where we have very few injuries, gaborik and richards work flawlessly, hank is being hank, and our defense steps up.
Last year if we got 100 points we would finish 6th. As long as we aren't banged up nearly as much as last year where we had that stretch where we lost 8-9 games in a row or something like that we should be fine.
Also, if we improve on playing on home ice we could definitely make a leap in the standings.
A 4th place finish is not that much of a far cry if you break it down.
I think a fair prediction is 5th thru 7th in the east. Of course like in the past big money signings make everyone expect more. I'd love to see them be top four but it takes more than Richards and also some other teams to fall off to climb to top 4
I can see the Rangers overtaking Tampa, only because Rolo is another year older and he ran out of gas in the playoffs, can't imagine he'll have too much left in the tank for this year either.
I agree, Kevin. The Richards acquisition addresses our most glaring need, but the team is still in the process of developing. Here's an opportunity to improve on last year but the team has its work cut out.
@AnnoyingJoe , agreed. In fact, I would think that it's more clear that the Rangers are improved than the Flyers, they could certainly drop. Buffalo seems to better too. The Devils have a good shot at showing up this year. I expect Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay will both do well. Is Washington any better? Might they drop in the standings?
In any case, it's going to be really competitive, once again, with teams competing for the 7th and 8th spot. I'm hoping that's less of a concern for the Rangers this year and we feel a bit more comfortably in the playoffs, whatever spot, well before our last regular season game.