Conference Outlook: New York Rangers

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on http://broadstreetbully.net.]

It’s that time of the year to take a subjective look at the teams that share the Metropolitan division with the Flyers.  As a Flyers fan, you’re aware of what the Flyers have done to make the team better this offseason.  But you may not know what other teams have done.  So, I went through the past articles from this offseason for every Metropolitan team and compiled a list of the moves that I think will affect the division standings the most this upcoming season.

Every team has signings and releases that they go through every offseason.  I’m not worried too much about every move the team has made since the season ended.  I focused more on the moves that I think will have the biggest impact on the team’s play next season.

After the jump, we look at the New York Rangers.

The Rangers traded Carl Hagelin to the Anaheim Ducks once it became apparent that they couldn’t afford to keep him.  He was a Rangers favorite and always gave his all on the ice every night.  The trade for Emerson Etem and a draft pick show just how badly the Rangers needed to move Hagelin so they at least got something for him before he walked.  The Rangers did the best they could for the situation they were in.  They also traded Cam Talbot to the Oilers after he had the magic run filling in for Henrik Lundqvist after his injury.  The Rangers ended up getting three draft picks for a backup goalie they didn’t plan on keeping.  Good haul for them.

They quickly replaced Talbot with Antti Raanta from the Chicago Blackhawks.  Raanta was more than servicable for the Blackhawks lover his tenure with the team.  He was eventually replaced last season by Scott Darling and then became expendable.  Good signing by the Rangers.

While they had to let the Hagelin go, the Rangers made sure to resign Derek Stepan.  That leaves a solid core of players that the Rangers kept together.  From what I can gather, out of Hagelin and Stepan, the better choice to keep was Stepan.  So, good news for the Rangers, I guess.  They also signed Jarret Stoll for less than a million and he becomes a serviceable foward, assuming he doesn’t get pinched for any more drug charges.

Lastly, the Rangers lost Martin St. Louis to retirement.  Will their offense suffer?  Who knows.  The Rangers didn’t score many goals last season anyway and Lundqvist helped them win more games then the Rangers probably should’ve.

Final overview: The Rangers made it to the conference finals last year and the outward face of the team hasn’t changed too drastically.  The Rangers usually draft well so, whenever they lose players, they always seem to replace them relatively quickly.  This season will tell if they’re able to continue their Eastern Conference dominance.

Will they challenge for a playoff spot?  It appears they will.  Out of all the teams that made the playoffs last year, though, I think the Rangers are the ones that could potentially fall off this season.

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