This is as much of an open letter to the ignorant writers at the Hockey News as it is a normal post. Recently the Hockey News continued their pre season rankings by placing the Rangers 7th in the East. All I have to say to that is thank you – and all Rangers fans should be saying the same. There is no better motivation for a team than to be disrespected and/or to have the burden of pressure or expectation reduced from their shoulders.
Seventh wouldn’t be a disaster for this Rangers team, far from it; it gets them in to the post season after all. However, in many people’s eyes this Rangers team has the potential for more in both the regular season and once (if?) they get beyond it. This is a team that has filled several holes this summer – for the long term – through retention (the kids), recruitment (Richards, Erixon, Rupp) and health (Biron). This team benefits from depth all over the roster and in my humble opinion; the biggest uncertainty surrounding the Rangers is internal development.
However to those worried about internal development; While every single player cannot be expected to develop as hoped, it can be reasonably expected several of those players will improve with age and ice time and if that happens (thanks to the aforementioned depth) then this Rangers team has several weapons at its disposal.
Looking at those ahead of the Rangers in the THN predictions; the immediate teams in front of NYR are Tampa and Buffalo. While Tampa has a bit more top end talent they have more question marks on their roster (in goal, defensive depth etc) despite their playoff run this past season. While Ryan Miller aside, I have a hard time being in love with the Sabres and don’t share the enthusiasm with some people over their (overpaid) additions.
While THN do praise the Rangers in their synopsis, they do finish by saying this:
The Rangers can’t be worse after improving their greatest need, but also won’t jump too far ahead of where they were a year ago.
Why not? Personally I don’t believe THN are accounting for the large amount of young talent on the Rangers squad, the injuries the Rangers had to tolerate last year and the potential upside that is there. They allow for ifs and buts for the likes of Tampa and Buffalo but not the Rangers? It’s hard to agree with THN but I will say thank you; thank you THN, for keeping expectancy low in regards to Manhattan’s hockey team. Here’s hoping they prove THN wrong.