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Well, after watching the Rangers all preseason, and after carefully considering everything, here is my prediction. The Rangers will finish out of the playoff race for the second consecutive year.

I know a lot of people have high hopes for this team, and see a marked improvement with the Rangers bringing in Frolov, Stepan, and Biron, but really, besides those 3 guys, this is almost exactly the same team that struggled to stay in games on a nightly basis last year, and were only in the playoff hunt thanks to a quick start and a favorable schedule down the stretch. Other than that we looked very much like a mediocre, talentless team. The Rangers are really banking their entire season on the improved play of Anisimov, Staal, Girardi, Callahan, Dubinsky, Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto. The odds of all of them having better years are slim to none. The law of averages say that some players will progress, and some players will regress, the net result is they probably stay about the same, maybe a little bit of improvement, but probably not enough to make a huge difference. Cally, Dubi, Girardi and Staal all have extensive NHL experience, it’s not like they are kids that are brand new to this team. They have enough of a track record that you can fairly comfortably say that we know what we’re going to get from them. Anisimov and Del Zotto will probably improve some, but that will probably be offset by some vet having a down year, the way Drury dragged us down with his colossal flop this past season.

The problem here is that, even if you assume a net improvement by the Rangers, all the teams around us have also improved…many by leaps and bounds. The Tampa Bay Lightning look poised to make a playoff run. The Atlanta Thrashers look to have a good North American type team. The Devils, Penguins, and Flyers should all be even better than they were last year. The Islanders would have been better if not for their preseason injuries. And the Carolina Hurricanes were one of the best teams in the NHL down the stretch last year.

Here are my preseason predictions.

1)Washington Capitals
2)New Jersey Devils
3)Boston Bruins
4)Philadelphia Flyers
5)Pittsburgh Penguins
6)Ottawa Senators
7)Buffalo Sabres
8)Tampa Bay Lightning
9)Atlanta Thrashers
10)New York Rangers
11)Montreal Canadiens
12)Carolina Hurricanes
13)Toronto Maple Leafs
14)New York Islanders
15)Florida Panthers

Sadly, looks like it’s going to be another lost season for the boys in blue.

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