New York Rangers: NHL 2018/19 season preview

After finishing 24th in the NHL standings and admitting they are in a rebuild, the New York Rangers have their work cut out for them.

New York Rangers: NHL 2018/19 season preview
New York Rangers: NHL 2018/19 season preview. | Photo: hockeypngs.com/Ty Fisher Vavel.com

What do you do when your team was 24th in goals scored, 29th in goals allowed and gave up the second most shots per game than any other NHL team?

R-E-B-U-I-L-D.

The New York Rangers' fans will miss players like Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, and Michael Grabner all lost in trades before the trade deadline.

This has meant that the team is trying to begin a rebuild and they had enough courage to let their loyal fans know that was exactly what they were doing.

More trades may in the works to improve a once playoff-level team.

Projected lineup

Forwards:

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich

Vladislav Namestnikov - Lias Andersson - Mats Zuccarello

Filip Chytil - Kevin Hayes - Ville Meskanen

Jimmy Vesey - Ryan Spooner - Jesper Fast

Extra forwards: Cody McLeod, Peter Holland

Defense:

Brady Skjei - Kevin Shattenkirk

Marc Staal - Neal Pionk​

Brendan Smith - Anthony DeAngelo

Extra defensemen: Steven Kampfer, John Gilmour

Goalies:

Henrik Lundqvist​

Ondrej Pavelec/Dustin Tokarski

Best case scenario:

- The Rangers Kevin Shattenkirk plays more than 46 games and helps the team improve on their porous defense.

- Henrik Lundqvist has a better season and his age doesn't start to show yet.

- New head coach David Quinn exceeds expectations and is able to get his team to play better all-around hockey. He has the skills to do it.

- If the team decides to trade star players Mats Zuccarello or Kevin Hayes who will both be free agents after this season, they are able to get some returns which will help the rebuild be effective.

 

Worse case scenario:

- The rebuild goes bust, and the team finishes as badly or worse than last season... is that possible?

- Lundqvist at 36 starts to show further deterioration of his past skills and begins to show worse statistics as the season drags on.

- The team doesn't address the elephant in the room that they have no real backup goalie if Pavelec isn't signed to a contract. Do they really think that Lundqvist can carry the team on his back again?

- Brendan Smith fails to have a bounce-back season after playing in just 46 games last season and being sent to the AHL in February. He was a top-four defenseman when the Rangers acquired him from the Detroit Red Wings but had not lived up to his contract or potential.

- New head coach David Quinn fails to get the team going, and there's always an adjustment with any new coach at getting accustomed to how he wants things done.

Prediction

The New York Rangers are a team in transition and that can have some positive or negative results depending on many factors.

On the positive side, they have some good young players in Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil who may help the offense and bring some needed excitement to the team's fanbase.

On the negative side, they have some defensive lapses which showed up last season and if they go unaddressed the results will be them finishing last again in their division.

Pending on what kind of moves they make to trade either Zuccarello or Hayes and what kind of returns they receive they are sorta in limbo until things like that are worked out.

Due to all these uncertainties, they will not finish any better than last season and again be in a fight for the cellar with the New York Islanders of the Metropolitan Division finishing with maybe 75-80 points. 

Rebuilds are tough, but if they do it right the team could be back in contention in a couple of years.

Do you agree with my prediction and where do you see the New York Rangers finishing in the East? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to give us a follow on Twitter by searching (VAVELNHL_ENG).