Many of the same names are back from last year’s New York Rangers including 12 of the top 14 scorers. The biggest moves were the signings of veteran center Vincent Trocheck and goalie Jaroslav Halak.
Chris Kreider is coming off a 52-goal season and he is joined by Artemi Panarin, Mike Zibanejad and defenseman Adam Fox to go with goalie Igor Shesterkin.
The success of the team could ultimately rest with forwards Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov and Filip Chytil as well as defensemen KeAndre Miller, Zac Jones and Braden Schneider, who are all 23 or younger.
The NHL playoffs odds list the Rangers with the sixth-best odds among Eastern Conference teams in the Presidents’ Trophy.
New York Rangers Odds
- To win Stanley Cup +2000
- To win Eastern Conference +1000
- To win Metropolitan Division +300
- To make playoffs Yes -290 / No +230
Player to Watch
- Player to Watch: D Adam Fox
Fox took a major step forward last season as he went from 47 to 74 points and then had 23 points in 20 games during the playoffs,
In the current age of the NHL, puck-moving defensemen like Fox are crucial for teams with hopes of winning the Stanley Cup.
Fox is more than just a wizard with the puck. He was third among Ranger defensemen with 128 blocked shots. Fox was second among Rangers defensemen in time on ice when New York is killing penalties so he was playing hard minutes.Fox got a taste of success in the postseason and that should only give him more confidence heading into his fourth NHL season.
The winner of the Norris Trophy, Fox is tied for third in the current Norris Trophy odds according to the sportsbook.
- Breakout Watch: F Kaapo Kaako
With all the recent first-round picks, it is tough to pick just player. Kaako, the No. 2 overall pick in 2019.
Kakko has 26 goals in 157 games over his first three seasons and he is far too talented to not be in the running for 20 goals on an annual basis. He had moments when he looked dangerous in the playoffs, especially when playing alongside Lafreniere and Chytil. That line has been reunited in the preseason.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Kakko should be able to use his frame to take the next step as a forward. He can’t be a player who flashes his immense talent every once in a while. He needs to be ready to contribute to the success on a nightly basis.
The sky’s the limit for the Rangers so proven producers joined by a roster full of rising stars.
Fox and Shesterkin won the Norris Trophy and Vezina Trophy last season as the top defenseman and goalie in the NHL during the 2020-21 campaign.
Veteran defenseman Jacob Trouba has been named the team captain. He is surrounded by a host of blue liners under the age of 25.
There doesn’t seem to be a weakness on this team with physical veterans, high-scoring forwards, a dynamic defenseman and host of young forwards ready to take the next step.
The concern is that the Rangers won’t sneak up on teams like they did a season ago. With some of the other contenders in the Eastern Conference dealing with injuries or departures, it is not surprising that there are those who bet online who are viewing the Rangers as a legitimate title contender.
The Rangers will need to replace veteran center Ryan Strome as well as fellow forward Andrew Copp, who had 18 points in 16 games after a deal brought him to the Rangers at the trading deadline.