Much like the Montreal Canadiens with Carey Price, it’s true that, to some extent, the New York Rangers still go as far as Henrik Lundqvist can take them.
Still, this summer and Chris Kreider‘s new deal reminds us of one of the best things going for the Rangers: their young group of forwards.
As you can see here, Rick Nash and Tanner Glass are the only forwards above age 30 (both at 32).
New York got younger in its recent, splashy trade; Mika Zibanejad generates comparable production to Derick Brassard and is five years younger.
That move seems nice now (getting the better pick is quite the cherry on top), but it could look even better down the line.
The Rangers still eye a possible salary arbitration session for 24-year-old Kevin Hayes, who’s seen his ups and downs lately. Still, a core of Kreider (25), Derek Stepan (26), Zibanejad (23), J.T. Miller (23) and Mats Zuccarello (28) is nothing to sneeze at. Bonus points if Hayes breaks through.
Management added two 28-year-olds in Nathan Gerbe and Michael Grabner, so fresh legs abound in their forwards group.
The less-than-bright side is that Lundqvist may be flirting with a decline at 34, and that defensive group looks a little dicey these days.*
So, yes, there are some flaws … but the Rangers’ outlook seems brighter when you focus on that collection of prime-age forwards.
* – Although the picture would look an awful lot brighter if the Rangers went for Kevin Shattenkirk.