Last Season: 34-39-9 77 pts (8th in Metropolitan Division; Did Not Make Playoffs)
Key Additions: D Fredrik Claesson, G Dustin Tokarski, and Coach David Quinn
Key Departures: F Paul Carey, F David Desharnais, Coah Alain Vigneault
Top Questions Facing the New York Rangers:
- How will rookies impact the lineup?
The Rangers go into the 2018-19 season in full rebuild mode. Rookies will be given prime opportunities to win jobs in camp and the team will be younger, faster but a lot more in experienced than in years past. Their two first rounders from 2017, Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil are most likely going to be slotted into the 2nd and 3rd line center spots so a lot of this season is riding on how those two acclimate to full time NHL minutes.
Free-agent rookie wingers Ville Meskanen and Michael Lindqvist, both signed from Sweden’s SHL, will look to crack the opening night roster as well and they very well could as both have shown in their time in the SHL that they have a nose for the net. Both scored at least 20 goals last season in the SHL. If Brett Howden, obtained from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Ryan McDonagh trade, surprises coach David Quinn, he could find himself on the opening night roster as well. That makes five possible offensive rookies on opening night.
Finally, we shift to the defense where as many as two spots could be taken by rookies as well. Look for Libor Hajek, also acquired in the Ryan McDonagh trade, to make a case that he belongs on the opening night roster and maybe the Rangers like what they see in Ryan Lindgren… it’s going to be a very interesting training camp in New York with battles happening for positions on every line. Veterans cannot rest east this year as the youngsters are coming for their jobs. It’s time for the Rangers to begin the process of seeing who deserves to be apart of a future Stanley Cup contending core.
2) Is this the beginning of the end for Henrik Lundqvist?
The King is coming to the end of his reign. Lundqvist, the heart and soul of the New York Rangers since 2005, is in his late thirties and soon the time will come for one of the best goaltenders in NHL history to hang his skates up and take that last lap around the ice at Madison Square Garden. But man… he isn’t going down without a fight. Lundqvist will fight tooth and nail to give his Rangers one last shot at glory before he retires and it may not be this season or the next but soon the Rangers will have capable team to give the King one last shot. One last shot to give the city of New York a championship over 20 years in the making. He isn’t washed up by any means but he isn’t the Lundqvist of old. Igor Shestyorkin will be the Rangers goaltender of the future but Lundqvist is going to do all he can to stay as long as it can and get that elusive title.
3) How will David Quinn adjust to being a full time NHL head coach?
David Quinn will begin his first season as an NHL head coach at the start of training camp and all eyes will be on the former Boston University Head Coach. He’s a young guy and a guy that has some brilliant ideas for how to run a hockey club. The guy preaches puck possession and will give the Rangers a much more structured system that Alain Vigneault did.
But remember… it takes awhile for a team to adjust to a new system, a new coach and a regime change. The Rangers were already not going to be good this season but having a new coach makes this whole thing a little bit tougher. Will Quinn sink or swim? Will he have the attention of his veterans and rookies alike? Will he make the smart decisions? If his attitude and pedigree are any indication, look for David Quinn to begin making his mark early and look for him to begin succeeding at the NHL level. The Rangers couldn’t have made a better choice to guide this team through the rebuilding process.