When it comes to viewing the New York Rangers, it all comes down to expectations.
For a team that isn’t that far removed from some deep playoff runs, being little more than first-round fodder was a bitter pill to swallow. That’s what happened in 2015-16; they finished third in the Metropolitan Division and were dismissed from the postseason after five games.
On the other hand, they managed 101 standings points and lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
They’ve also only missed the playoffs once since 2005-06 and won at least one round in all but two of those postseason runs.
Henrik Lundqvist‘s expectations parallel his team’s outlook. On one hand, he’s expensive and seemingly on a mild decline. To counter, that decline simply means slipping from all-world to merely very good, and it isn’t crazy to imagine a few more glory runs.
In other words, the good outweighs the bad … but will that be good enough?
The Rangers’ off-season didn’t get off to a great start.
After a humbling playoff series vs. Pittsburgh, New York had to let Keith Yandle go for peanuts. More than a few Rangers fans are upset that the team is still paying big bucks for Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. Dan Boyle retired, while new additions Nick Holden and Adam Clendening aren’t likely to be more than bit players (if New York is lucky).
It’s not all gloom and doom, though.
The Rangers made nice bargain additions in Michael Grabner and Nathan Gerbe, while the bold Mika Zibanejad – Derick Brassard trade could be a very nice win. The deals for Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes seem like fantastic values to boot.
Can a solid set of mostly prime-aged forwards combine with a legendary goalie to overcome a shabby-looking defense? We’ll dive deep into this team’s strengths and weaknesses on this fine Tuesday.