New York Rangers 2023-24 season preview and predictions

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New York Rangers season preview

The 2022-23 season might have been the biggest letdown in the history of the New York Rangers franchise. The team and the organization have voiced their frustrations, and they are eager to get the season going under new head coach Peter Laviolette. They don’t have the same kind of hype that they did going into last season, but the Rangers will compete for the top of the division and will certainly be a playoff team.  

 

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Offense

New York can always rely upon Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, and Adam Fox to provide scoring, but there are a ton of questions about how new acquisition Blake Wheeler will fit in. The Rangers also need to figure out if guys like Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and Vincent Trocheck can finally live up to expectations. The Rangers have a very strong group up front, but last year they didn’t finish as well as they could have (3.33 goals per game). This group could potentially have 6+ players with a minimum of 60 points, but it all depends on how they respond to Laviolette’s coaching style. With that said, the Rangers’ power play has been in the top 10 in the last two seasons and should be up there once again. 

Defense

It’s fair to say that this blue line got stronger in the offseason, not because of any crazy acquisitions, but because they gained another year of playoff experience. Fox was nominated for his second Norris Trophy in his first four seasons and K’Andre Miller more than doubled his point total from the season before. The Rangers will need more consistent play from their captain Jacob Trouba, but overall, this backend is pretty well-rounded. 

Goaltending

This position is where the Rangers always seem to thrive. After winning the Vezina Trophy in 2022, Igor Shesterkin had something of a down year, but by no means could it be considered a letdown. Shesterkin earned 37 wins while skating to a .916 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against-average while finishing with a fifth-best +28.1 goals saved above expected. He will be in the Vezina conversation again this season. The Rangers also brought in three-time Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick to back him up. Quick’s best playing days are behind him, but he can be a big help and leader for this group as he is in the backup role for the first time in his career. 

Player To Watch – F Kaapo Kakko

The second overall pick from the 2019 NHL draft is poised to make a big splash this season. He voiced at the end of 2022-23 that he wanted a bigger role on the team and now the opportunity will be there for the taking. Kakko should get plenty of minutes on the Rangers’ top-two lines, so he has to make the most of this opportunity. Last season, he recorded new career-highs (18 G, 22 A, 40 P) and I feel strongly that he can reach 60 points this season. 

Outlook

Laviolette will make sure that this group is a playoff team. And with the amount of talent on this roster, it’s fair to say that they could make a run for the Stanley Cup. They have plenty of competition around them, but with Shesterkin, Panarin, Zibanejad, Fox, and the rest of the talent on this team, the ceiling is very high.