The New York Rangers have missed the playoffs for the past four seasons. During that time, their team has been rebuilt, with the intention of bringing in youngers players to give them a new platform to thrive off and we may be about to see that happen.
The Rangers now have the right pieces, as well as a superstar in Artemi Panarin, so is this the year where the expectation has to be for them to make the playoffs?
A Young Core to Move Forward
If you look at the forward group that the Rangers have in place, it is stacked with young players who have the ability to go on and be top end guys in the league. Eventually, not yet of course, these young players will be asked to take the team a step further and win the Stanley Cup. While the bookmakers listed on bettingoffers have big odds about the Rangers winning anything this season, as this group gains experience, those odds will definitely shorten.
Heading up the youngsters is Alexis Lafreniere, who playing in his first NHL season during the 2020/21 campaign. He scored 21 points, with 12 of them being goals, after struggling in the early part and the expectation is that he can double his points tally in the coming season. The Rangers won the draft lottery that allowed them to select Lafreniere and as a previous number one draft pick, expectations are always going to be high for him.
Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov and Filip Chytil are the other three young forwards that this club needs to develop in order for them to contend. Things aren’t just on their shoulders though.
Veteran Leadership Available to Assist Youngsters
It’s not just young kids that this team is about. Artemi Panarin leads a group of five experienced forwards, all either in their late 20s or aged 30 who can assist the youngsters when they go through their struggles.
Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome and the newly acquired Barclay Goodrow are all capable of playing big roles on the roster and Panarin and Zibanejad especially are capable of putting big numbers on the board.
This mix as it is right now is why the New York Rangers really do need to start succeeding, and this means making the playoffs this season.
There can be no excuse of being too young, due to the experienced forwards they have, and no excuse of no fresh talent due to the abundance of young stars on the roster.
Combine these together, and the Rangers have a set of forwards that many teams in the league would take. The next step has to be towards making a success of their time and being a regular playoff team.
They didn’t miss by too much last season, but the next step needs to be taken now. It is time for the Rangers to deliver and anything short of the playoffs would probably be seen as a disappointing campaign.