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We are now a few days out from the Rangers signing Alexander Frolov, and all I can think is, damn the Rangers are sure doing their best to put together a championship caliber team…for the Hartford Wolfpack.

Seriously guys, is this the single most haphazard offseason in the history of the Rangers or what? I can’t understand for the life of me what is going on here. If you were into the whole online betting scene you would probably be putting even money on the Rangers being the same or slightly worse than they were last year, even with Alexander Frolov. Think about it guys, every team in our division has made huge improvements. The Penguins have bolstered their blueline with 2 tremendous defenseman in Michalek and Martin. The Flyers made their splash last season when they brought in head coach Peter Laviolette (though they did add Meszaros and Zherdev to already an extremely talented group of forwards and defenseman). The New Jersey Devils also managed to add Talinder and Volchenkov to their team, and will almost assuredly bring back mega star Ilya Kovalchuk. Not to mention the Islanders which only finished a handful of points behind us are putting together a solid core of young players who will get only better with time. What the Rangers have done is essentially bring the same team back while swapping Frolov and Boogaard for Jokinen and Shelley. Essentially a push. When you factor in the improvements of the teams in the Atlantic, and even more, the improvements of the teams all over the NHL, you have to wonder how the Rangers can compete on a night in and night out basis.

So, let’s crunch some numbers shall we? First, I want to take a look at how my projections worked for last year. My numerical projection was 276 goals, but I actually projected about 220-245 goals..so let’s take the middle of that range and say 237 goals. Our actual goal total was 222, or 80% of what the numerical projection said. So let’s use that as a guideline. I want to do the same calculations, factor in the 80% rule, and see how our goal totals shape up shall we?

Please note that my lineup here is just a guess, and yes, I am figuring that Brian Boyle does not make this team.


Alexander Frolov
(26)

Erik Christensen
(15)

Marian Gaborik
(37)

Brandon Dubinsky
(16)
Artem Anisimov
(12)
Mats Zuccarello-Aasen
(16)
Vinny Prospal
(19)
Chris Drury
(24)
Ryan Callahan
(19)
Sean Avery
(14)
Todd White
(18)
Brandon Prust
(4)
Marc Staal
(4)
Dan Girardi
(6)
Michael Del Zotto
(9)
Michal Rozsival
(7)
Matt Gilroy
(5)
Ryan McDonagh
(5)

 

The goal total for this roster as composed here is 256 goals. Factor in the 80% rule and youre talking 205 goals worth of offense. Note that Zuccarello-Aasen and Mcdonagh’s numbers are based on another projection method I’ve used in the past. Their Junior/SEL numbers, factored in over 82 games, but divided by 2 because of the jump in skill.

Now, I don’t think that our 3rd line will outperform our 2nd line. I don’t think Anisimov, Dubinsky, and Christensen will put up those low totals with better ice time. But, I do think that this estimation is not that far off folks. 205 goals would probably rank us somewhere in the 25-30th range in terms of team offense. Now, with Henrik Lundqvist in net, and assuming he’s healthy, one has to assume the Rangers will not be bad enough to be a lottery team. It’s just tough to imagine a club with a healthy Gaborik and Lundqvist ever being bad enough to get a top pick. With that said, I just don’t see how there is any optimism at all going into this season by our fan base. I feel like we have probably stayed the same, maybe gotten a little worse because you can’t assume we will be healthy like we have been, and the teams around us have gotten much, much better. My prediction? Rangers finish outside the playoffs and are sellers come deadline day.

But, there is not all doom and gloom in Ranger land folks. The Rangers have done a great job of getting their kids to play in Hartford. This year we should see Derek Stepan and Evgeny Grachev explode in Hartford, and I would look for Brian Boyle to help out with some veteran leadership down there. Wade Redden, while he is a pathetic excuse for an NHLer will likely be a top pairing defenseman in Hartford that will help them more than he could ever help the big club. I would expect much bigger things for this Hartford team coming up. Stepan and Grachev should be a deadly duo, I can’t wait to see what they can do out there.


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