In all the stuff that went on Monday and Tuesday, I never did post my stories.
I wrote a column about McDonagh today, and that will go up here later on, or tomorrow. I will also have my position-by-position preview, then a column looking at whether this team is as good, worse or better than last year’s team. Also we’ll do predictions at some point tomorrow or Thursday.
Here are the Five Things to Watch:
Even with Derek Stepan, center was the Rangers’ potential weak spot. He will miss, at minimum, the first 10 games. Derick Brassard made great strides last season, and Dominic Moore is a fabulous role player. But whether J.T. Miller can make the jump and fill Brad Richards’ old role, and what they do until Stepan comes back, nobody knows. Martin St. Louis will play center at the start.
Marc Staal, one of the senior Rangers, an alternate captain, a respected and well-liked teammate — not to mention a top defenseman — is in his contract year. Will this be the distraction Henrik Lundqvist’s contract talks were a season ago? Will it end badly, as Ryan Callahan’s contract talks did?
In each of Rick Nash’s first two seasons as a Ranger he has A) suffered a concussion; and B) failed in the playoffs. When healthy, he’s been productive during the regular season. The Rangers need him to be a legitimate first-line scoring threat.
The wonder kid:
There hasn’t been this much buzz about an offensive-minded Rangers draft pick in a long, long time. Anthony Duclair, barely 19, will start the season on the roster. He will get a shot to stay. There’s no real danger in keeping him, and it won’t be the worst thing in the world if he goes back to his junior team. A major story line developing.
He’s 39 years old and in the last year of his contract, but Martin St. Louis seems to have a lot left, as well as a desire to play beyond this season. He has become a great leader and role model with his new team. Do the Rangers extend his deal?
Photos by Getty Images.