So how do the Rangers rate?

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You guys started the conversation yesterday, after TSN ranked the Rangers 22nd (that’s out of 30 teams, folks) in the NHL. You can see that story here.

Some of you were up in arms about “let’s prove them wrong and shove it down their throats” and such, and some of you thought they were right on. And I wonder. I haven’t made up my mind yet, because there are just so many question marks (plus I want to do my season preview, you know, just before the season).

But obviously you have your opinions and ideas. Are the Rangers better or worse? Or should we expect exactly what we got last year, a final week of the season in which six or eight points separates fourth place from ninth or 10th in the East, and the Rangers right on that bubble with everybody else?

Sorry for the lateness of this post. We changed our dashboard yesterday and I couldn’t get in. I posted last night’s Traverse City results — the Rangers’ version, with quotes on some of the prospects — in the comments of the previous threads since I couldn’t put up a new post until my tech guy walked me through it a few minutes ago. So you can find the wrap-up there.

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75 Comments

  1. I expect to see an energetic and driven team. I dont feel that Torts will tolerate half hearted shifts. Player addition and subtraction aside, it will definitely be exciting to watch the high energy – bodies flying – uptempo attack style. From a fans stand point we will be pleased to watch the games and the teams effort and level of desire should not be a question mark as it has in the past.

  2. No Country For Old Rangers on

    every season writers and sports publications think we are going to be terrible and we are usually mediocre.

    i expect a better showing this season. there is certainly more talent and with torts, there will be more effort, accountability, and desire

  3. Weren’t they expected to be the worst team in the NHL prior to the 1st year after the lockout? Out of the playoffs last year as well?
    I think this team looks pretty damned good. I think the Gaborik injury stuff is overblown. They are gonna be a lot more fun to watch. There are only 4 teams I can think of that are absolutely better than the NYR: CAR, PIT, BOS, and WAS. So I am gonna predict a 5th-7th place finish in the East. And the biggest problem the NYR will have is getting Hank enough rest down the stretch.

  4. I’m not very optimistic about this team. With the exception of Gaborik, they brought in a bunch of mediocre players coming off mediocre (or worse) seasons. It was the same with Naslund, Zherdev and Redden. Sather thought that all they needed was a change of scenery and they would flourish again. Well, he was wrong. Will he be wrong again? Past experience is not in his favor.

    If Gaborik stays healthy and lights up the scoreboard and Henrik doesn’t get worn out playing in the Olympics then this team can make the playoffs. If either of them falter then I don’t see anyone else on the roster picking up the slack.

  5. There is no second guess – team on the paper and statistically IS better and I’m not going again thru all the arguments – we did it a lot here. As I said it before I do believe biggest part of success will depend on Torts and management to find/create chemistry and turn eclectic bunch of good players to the TEAM. However it is always a gamble with a lot of unpredictable factors.So,my educated guess and bet equals my high hope (that what normal fans do).
    Division-3. Conference – 6. Playoffs-2 Rounds.

  6. Jimmy Dolan's Fat Wallet on

    WE DON’T HAVE A #1 CENTER.

    WE ONLY HAVE FOUR NHL-EXPERIENCED DEFENSEMEN.

    HALF OF OUR FWDS HAVE NEVER PLAYED TOGETHER.

    If you can take those 3 factors and turn them into a positive, I’d be impressed.

    #22 may be a tad low, I’d say more like 17/18, but *certainly* not in the top-half of the NHL.

  7. There are so many question marks, I won’t even characterize the Rangers as a team at this point.

    Goaltending is the only area where we know what we’re getting. I’ll extend that opinion to Vali as well. We have one of the best and most competitive netminders in the league. Vali fills the backup roll admirably and is a plus in the locker room as well. These two give us a chance to win every night.

    We know what we’re getting from Torts personally and technically but his ability to bring this team together and motivate them to play up to their potential on a major stage remains to be seen.

    Chemistry, leadership, and production were nearly non-existence last year. I’m hoping that with Gomez and Naslund gone, Drury will unequivocally stand up as captain and start forming a clear identity for this team. With all the new faces and a new style, it’s going to be a couple of months before we know anything.

  8. We’re going to be fine this year. This is a team that Torts put together, it has players on it that he believes will be driven and motivated and that can play under his system. I’m not worried at all.

    Positive thinking, people.

  9. Now tsn doesn’t really elaborate on how much better one team is over another. Like Carp said about the point separation in the conference (thanks 3 point games), these rankings might be very tightly packed.

    My take on some of the teams that are ranked higher than the Rangers:

    East
    Florida (lost JBo, young and raw talent with mid level vets)
    Buffalo (pins hopes essentially on Vanek, Miller)
    Montreal (small forwards, possibly massively overrated goalie)

    West
    Minnesota (just as many problems scoring as the Rangers in a tougher conference)
    Columbus (Mason must avoid soph slump, big drop off in scoring after Nash)
    St. Louis (on the rise but still very much a bubble team)
    Nashville (strong D, average forwards)
    Edmonton (should be better, one of the biggest underachieving teams relative to talent)
    Dallas (thin on D, really need Turco to rebound)

  10. ill break it down simply:

    everyone hated gomez (names like blomez, he shoots like a woman, blah blah blah) naslund was ok (way past his prime, cannot play in an intensive system that torts will roll with), zherdev some loved some hated (everyone knows he would be upstairs in the MSG box by game 5 under torts) and antropov i think the overall theme was lets try to keep him but not at 4mm per year, betts and sjos two hardworking forwards who are unfortunately one way forwards who cannot consistently produce on the offensive side of the ice….in return we have gaborik who is obviously a risk but could easily be top 10 players in the league, higgins who is probably very similar to callahan, prospal who has had a decent career and kotalik who meshed well with drury and will hopefully imrpove the PP….drury will have less pressure on the offensive side, callahan and dubi are a year older, avery is here for an entire year and i dont think its possible roszival and redden can have worse years-with that being said i just do not see how on paper this team could be predicted to finish 11th in the east

  11. Any team except the Rangers that consistently makes the playoffs would probably be considered a pretty solid team by most people. But there’s definitely some bias out there against New York teams. The Devils have had about the same rate of success in the playoffs since the lockout (some first and second round exits), and the other day the Hockey News (I think) had an article about the keys to Jersey’s yearly success. Go figure.

    That being said, I don’t think there’s any way to predict where this team is going to finish this year, too many new faces to predict what kind of chemistry they’ll find. I think if Gaborik stays healthy and at least a few of those 20 goal guys have good years, they could surprise a lot of people.

  12. I don’t think the Rangers have really improved one bit but 22 out of 30 seems a awfully harsh for this bunch and this coach. We also still have one of the best regular season goalies in the league, that alone can carry a below average team to above average rankings. To me this team is in the bottom third of the league with Vally in net, with Hank no way. The only they they finish that low is with injuries. My guess is we finish somewhere around 14-18.

  13. The Rangers and Devils are the only teams from the East that have made the playoffs every year since the lockout. Anything above 16 is insulting. I say Torts uses it!

  14. In terms of playoff capable teams, I think there’s a clear dichotomy when it comes to the teams that can realistically compete for the Cup and ones that will make the playoffs but be quickly disposed of by the real contenders.

    I think this separation is more pronounced in the East where Pitt, Boston and the Flyers seem like safe picks to win the East.

    Obviously the Caps have the firepower to match anyone but they’re doomed if Varlamov isn’t the real deal.

    Carolina had a good run last year but we saw it with them after 2006 that unless their top end talent produces they turn into an average team, in other words they’re a very top heavy team.

    And I agree with DanLD, the love affair with the Devils needs to stop. The Rangers have had the exact same amount of playoff success as the Devils since the lockout and Brodeur has become a liability in the playoffs during that time.

  15. Honestly, I don’t see how we could be any worse for scoring than we were last year. If Gabby can match the 58 points Gomez scored, there is no reason to see a drop off in scoring. Nobody went crazy lighting the lamp last year, so even with mediocre seasons from several players, it’s still the status quo. Looking at the roster last year, the 4th line accounted for a mere 14 goals combined, and that’s with a career year from Betts. The only major point producer we lost was Naslund, who had 24 goals. Everyone else we either still have, like Callahan, Drury and maybe Dubinsky, or they were replaced with higher scoring counterparts. Antro had a decent year, as did Z, but I have to imagine that Prospal, Kotalik, Higgins, and Lisin are improvements. Tougher to play against too. Our defense could have done a lot more last year. If they have better seasons offensively, and we develop some of out prospects, we could be in good shape there. Hank is solid in net. We could definitely contend for a playoff spot.

  16. TSN prediction is as relevant as ORR’s dream ( sorry, buddy), changed our mood, but unlikely to happen. One thing remained constant over the last 4 years- we have Hank. That itself makes the team in the middle of NHL, fighting for playoff spot. New coach, new system. Young players became one year more mature. Good, solid blue chips in the system can bring back NHL- ready players. No Stanley, but good enough to get to 2nd. round.

  17. THE REAL MikeyNJ on

    Honestly, we will finish higher than 22nd, TSN and all of Canada hates the Rangers.

    We make the playoffs, and either suprise by goign deep, or bounce out in the first or second round.

    And until we see who is ACUTALLY on the roster, you can’t even guess how we will do.

    There are only a few givens:

    -Hank will play a little less this year and Vally will play more
    -Faster systemn from Torts
    -Accountability for ALL players from Torts (bust your ass or ride the pine)
    -Better conditioning from day 1

    I also love the fact that Torts pretty much built this team in the mold he wanted, players he wanted, with attributes he wanted.

    People could impress in Camp and make the team that we didn’t expect. And that goes for forwards and for D men

    Only two who have “Spots to lose” Are AA and Gilroy.

    So lets see who comes out of that tunnell opening night in Shitsburgh, and take it a game at a time.

    LETS GO RANGERS!!!

  18. my gut tells me we will be on the playoff bubble again. i see anywhere from 7th-10th and the differnce may be the pp or the pk. we assume the pk will suffer from last year but if the pp grows to lets say the top 17-20 in the league rather then 27-30 we could sneak in. scoring will always be an issue for this team. we go as far as captain invisble takes us.

    my prediction rangers finish 9th just missing by 2 or 3 pts.

    if you continue to play with fire in the last week of the season at some point you wont catch a break

  19. I called it last year that they would finish 7th or 8th, based largely on the low level of competition in the rest of the conference.

    This year, before camp, I’m thinking probably more of the same. I’ll wait until after the preseason to say for sure.

    My sleeper team of the year is St. Louis. If they get some decent goaltending, they could find themselves in the conference finals.

  20. “and either suprise by goign deep, or bounce out in the first or second round.”

    Either it will rain today or it won’t.

  21. Who cares? Pre-season rankings are always pointless. I think they reveal more about the prejudices of the author than actually reflect honest analysis.

    I give them as much credit as mock drafts and pre-season line combinations…. zip, zero, none. I find it even more pointless to argue over it. Like the great Brian Leetch said, “That’s why we play the games.”

    I’m a bit surprised that there were no “really good tie games” voted for the Fans Most Wanted. Some fake traditionalists may bemoan the Shootout, but overall most fans agree… tie games sucked.

  22. “One team that won’t be taking a run at Heatley is the St. Louis Blues. While they have the space to take on his $7.5-million US cap hit for the next six seasons, Blues president John Davidson told The Sporting News this week that dealing for the two-time 50-goal scorer isn’t what St. Louis needs.”

    Ah, a GM that understands the cap and long term implications. Where do you find one of those?

  23. No way do I see that three way deal going through. Marleau isn’t worth what the Kings would have to give up.

  24. This is a random question to all boneheads (and Im asking here because I respect your guys’ opinion on the rangers a little more than my buddy’s opinions.) I have yet to own a home Blue NY Rangers jersey and my birthday is coming up haha….anyways, back in the day I got a Pavel Bure Jersey for my bday, just as camp was starting, then his knees got messed up…so if u catch my drift I dont want another bure type occurance and I was wondering if you guys could suggest which Rangers player, will remain a Ranger for a while…I was thinking Staal or Callahan, just because their young guns who you see working hard every game, Dubby’s always in trade talks and Gaborik has health issues and i dont wanna possibly jinx another NY Rangers, i was just guna wait and see how Gaborik does….So basically what Im asking is, if you were to choose a jersey to get, what would it be?!? STAAL OR CALLAHAN!?!
    …thank you for your time lol

  25. On paper and baring injury, this team has improved… that may be debated but…I can’t see us missing the playoffs.
    The age old debate is about to rage again, are you optimistic about the team, like the old pro-Renney crowd, who eventually abandoned that boat OR the hate Renney crowd some of whom I’m convinced just hated him because he was well-spoken and used “hard words”…lol
    I see this team, (not the front office) from Torts down the roster as completely different than last year. Totally new system; we did not see Torts system last season at all. We are all about to witness a new line-up with a totally new system. I know I’m pumped. I am far more excited this season than I was season. Though I did like Renney initally, I knew what I was going to see…a ‘defensive’ style of play, with little scoring punch. Seriously what options did Sather really give to Renney.
    So if Torts is *TORTS* he will get Dubinsky to mature, we all have seen Dubinsky do great things…I’m optimistic!
    If Callahan plays at least as well as he did last season, I’m pumped. I think he will be better.
    If Staal continues to mature and adds a little offense…sweet!
    If Hank is *Hank* and Avery is *Avery* and Gabbi is *GABBI*
    and Higgins is what he is suppposed to be things are looking up!
    LETS GO RANGERS!!!

  26. olga…the only rangers jersey I own is a lundqvist…because he is a Swedish God, and Seth I was thinkin about a classic theo fleury jersey until they threw me into AA classes for even thinking it haha

  27. Hockeyman Rangers on

    Maybe this has been said already but I can’t imagine how ANYONE can rank us at all with all the new players. No one line is going to be the same as last year. And pretty much a new coach. Unless someone can see into the future NOBODY has a clue. However I myslef THINK and this is just my thought we will be a better team than last year. If everyone stays healthy for most of the year we will be up on that standings list come the end of the season.
    Carp I hope we get plenty of updates from camp. Will you or someone be there pretty much everyday??

    Peeps think I am nuts getting siked up just for camp.

  28. Hey guys!

    It’s Joeybriggs! I have been reading the posts over the summer but haven’t been posting much! Anyways, this Dubinsky situation is killing me so I had to post. I just saw the Taking of Pelham 123 (The 1974 version, which is awesome!) and would like to see if anyone would want to do this and the ransom be signing dubinsky to a contract. No worries, we’ll make sure we’ll hijack a subway car full of devils fans.

    PS: only kidding. No need to call the cops!

  29. I’m positive on the Rangers but I don’t think I could unequivocally say they’re better than they were last year.

    Forwards – Again, the problem is going to be goals. If you assume everyone on the team (D included) scores their career average the team is still going to be in the lower half of the league in goals for. That’s assuming Callahan and Dubinsky progress too. Throw in the fact that Gaborik is a huge piece of that total, there is no clear #1 center, no one has played together (read chemistry) and it isn’t hard to see that goals could be an issue again.

    Defense – I agree that Rozsival and Redden can only play better. What ever two guys fill out those 5th and 6th defensemen spots, they just won’t be as seasoned or experienced as Mara/Morris/Kalinin.

    Goalie – No problem here.

    Coaching – I’m still not sold on how great Tortorella is. In my mind, he lost the Washington series by benching Avery and getting himself suspended. So, to date, he’s done nothing. He’s got a clean slate, this is ‘his’ team, and I like the rhetoric over the summer on conditioning. If he can execute, he’ll win me over.

  30. Olga Folkyerself on

    This year’s Rangers are just more of Sather’s smoke and mirrors. It’s what your house would look like if the only place you shopped was at the scratch and dent sales. It’s like buying at the Salvation Army and paying top shelf prices. I don’t think the Rangers will make the playoffs, nor will they end up in a position to get a top draft pick. Not that I want to get started on Sather’s draft picks… Another sore subject with me.

    I see them in 10th in the conference- out of the playoffs, yet just high enough to save Sather’s wrinkled old azz from getting fired, like he deserves.

    It’s the Sather Way. SSDD.

  31. “he lost the Washington series by benching Avery and getting himself suspended”

    Are you kidding me? Did you actually watch the games? You mean to suggest that if Avery had not been benched and Torts had kept his cool the Rangers would have won that series? Are they also handing out free money at the IRS? Is that Jessica Alba napping in my bedroom?

    …jeeez…

  32. Olga
    Just promise to do with yourself what is claimed in your last name, if Rangers will make the playoffs…(wich they will of course).

  33. Rationally, I would say 15-16th sound like logical prediction considering the trades made and the poor play by most of our players last season. Thing is though, all bets are kind of off since we really can’t know what to expect with Torts behind the wheel.

    No team can win the Cup solely on talent, and no team can win it without enough talent. Question remains then, do the Rangers have enough talent to make to the playoffs, and perhaps more important; do they have the leadership and passion to turn that talent into results?

    My gutfeeling is; if the Rangers can find a no 1 center (or magically transform Dubi into one) and maximize their pre-season training, we might be positively surprised. I hope so anyway, since last season (considering the way the play, not the results) was such a let-down.

  34. Rangers are better this year than last, and last year they were top 16.

    Gaborik is an upgrade on Zheredev – even if he only plays half of the games. Z only played half of the games last year. He was dressed for the half he didn’t play though.

    Prospel, Higgens, are a wash with Gomez, Naslund and we have Kotalik as a throw in.

  35. Clarification:

    …talking top 6 forwards. The top 4 D are unchanged and goaltending remains a strength.

  36. One of the big challenges for the team this year, since it was a problem in previous years, is not leaving points on the table.

    The Rangers had a pretty decent record against a lot of top teams in the conference last year (3-3 against Pitt, 2-2 Boston, 3-3 Philly, blemishes with 1-3 against Washington and Carolina) but they didn’t do as well as they should have against teams like Atlanta, Florida and Toronto.

    If they win the games they should win and play well enough against the top teams again there’s no reason they shouldn’t make the playoffs.

  37. “Gaborik is an upgrade on Zheredev – even if he only plays half of the games. Z only played half of the games last year. He was dressed for the half he didn’t play though.”

    TOOBOO-great point!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    LETS GO RANGERS!

  38. Re: TSN’s prediction, The Hockey News predicts the Rangers finish 13th in the east — way, way out of the playoffs.

    I think this season’s team will start all over the place – the first 4-6 weeks there will be some great highlights and some embarrassing finishes.

  39. TSN prediction is indeed, baseless and irrelevant.
    Don’t forget that half of the last season Rangers were on the top of conference mostly thanks to early enthusiasm, compensatory hard work, some luck and Hank. OK, Hank is still here, we need twice of luck and enthusiasm(hard work granted under Torts)

  40. Saw this quote from Prospal over at the SNY blog:

    As for Vinny Prospal, he has arrived from Tampa and wanted to clear the air about his past with coach John Tortorella.

    “Torts puts his face on and keeps it on for nine months,” Prospal said. “I’d like to believe I’m a different guy at the rink than away from the rink. But I don’t want people to misunderstand our relationship. When I’m at the rink, I’m all about hockey. I guess he knows how to push the right buttons. I’m looking forward to it even if, at times, I don’t like it.”

  41. How could they rank the devils over the rangers? The rangers made all these all star moves and the Devils didnt do anything?
    I do like both teams..perhaps the Devils more…just because I am apalled year in and year out what Sather does.

  42. rick

    im just realizing that you finally updated wordpress. congrats on the new upgrade and best of luck getting used to the new build.

  43. A local fan
    Who cares about anything you post here, devil admirerer.Go swim in NJ contaminated swamp and live us for good.

  44. What’s the over-under for “total goals scored by the rangers’ defensemen” this year?

    I say 12ish.

  45. Did anyone else see Lundqvist at the US Open last night ? He was with that Swedish guy Soderling. Lol, he looked bored out of his mind. Mens Tennis can be like that. Unless you’re a die hard tennis fan, or gay.

    That’s why i enjoy women’s tennis. It’s short, and sexy, depending on who’s playing of course.

  46. Chuck,

    I have mentioned many times this summer that I think roszival will have a pretty decent offensive year. My assumption is based on the PP being improved with the additions of gaborik and kotalik and a year removed from his hip injury. I think Rozsival is vital to the success of the PP and I think he will score alone 10-12 goals. I think between staal and girardi they will combine for 6-10 goals and redden will probably have 5 or so himself. So im estimating are top 4 dman have 25 goals or so.

  47. Rangerfan32:

    What is an Ass Clown? You wish Scott Stevens played for the Rangers. Maybe then you would have been a mini-dynasty winning 3 Stanley cups from 1995-2003.

  48. the only basis upon which you can assume that the power play will improve is that it can’t get any worse than last year. i am not convinced that the power play is improved based solely on the acquisitions made during the off-season.

    i am convinced, however, that the penalty kill has taken a step back.

  49. I haven’t been posting for a while as I have a new job and it’s taking a lot of time, esp intraday when I used to love to post.

    Quick thought on the above: If you believe that a system and a coach can have a tremendous impact, then this prediction of 22 of 30 is BS.

    There are a lot of questions for sure. We have a totally new look. Torts’ system is in place from the get-go. It could have the impact of a 6th skater on the ice or it could make us rely too much on Wade Redden.

    Who knows? I think the team will be exciting to watch. By game 20, you’ll know.

    The optimist in me says 5th or 6th spot in the East. The realist says 7th or 8th spot secured only in the final 2 games.

    Drop the mfing puck already!

  50. Olga Folkyerself on

    “Olga
    Just promise to do with yourself what is claimed in your last name, if Rangers will make the playoffs…(wich they will of course)”

    Just about the response I would expect from someone named

    4 ever anger

  51. Local fan,

    We get it, you’re a fan of both teams. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion but keep in mind that essentially every single other person on this blog is a Rangers fan and only a Rangers fan. We have an extreme dislike for the Devils, the Islanders, the Flyers, the Canadiens and basically any team that doesn’t wear a Rangers jersey and play home games at Madison Square Garden.

    Continually reminding us that you like both teams but making far more specific pokes at the Rangers than the Devils isn’t going to garner you much respect here.

  52. No! I don’t wish he was a Ranger, he couldn’t hold Messier’s jock, he can stay in jersey with Marty and all the other hacks! You Can’t be “A Local Fan” go back to jersey you front runner!

  53. TSN did indeed fail to make any mention of the name LUNDQVIST in this article. He is the single most important reason why the team has made the playoffs every year since the lockout. I see the Rangers finishing somewhere between 5 and 10 again, in another very tight playoff race…a hot (or cold) streak during the season for Lundqvist and the Rangers could be the difference between finishing 5th or 10th.

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