3 Rangers Bounce-Back Candidates for 2023-24

The New York Rangers have high expectations heading into the 2023-24 season. It is clear that they sport a deep roster, with stars like Adam Fox, Artemi Panarin, and Igor Shesterkin leading the way. They also have an array of breakout candidates like Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil who could take major steps forward this season. Yet, if they hope to be even bigger threats, they also will be hoping a few of their players bounce back this season. Let’s go over three of their bounce-back candidates now.

Jacob Trouba

The 2022-23 season was not necessarily a bad one for Jacob Trouba, but it was a bit below expectations. From an offensive standpoint, his numbers were down, as he had eight goals and 30 points in 82 games. Keep in mind, he had 11 goals and 39 points the season before. At times, he wasn’t as sound defensively as in recent years, either. As for his physicality, he took it up a notch, posting a career-high 218 hits. This part of his game was, once again, immensely impactful.

Jacob Trouba New York Rangers
Jacob Trouba, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Now that Trouba is heading into the 2023-24 season completely healthy, one has to wonder if he can bounce back in 2023-24, at least from an offensive standpoint. Keep in mind, he showed in 2018-19 that he has the potential to hit 50 points in a season, and it would be massive if he produces for the Rangers at a similar rate in 2023-24.

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Overall, after a summer of rest, expect Trouba to make a bigger impact, both offensively and defensively this season for the Rangers. With that, he will continue to provide the Rangers with plenty of toughness due to his aggressive style of play in the process.

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick will be an intriguing goalie to watch this season. This past season was a rough one for the three-time Stanley Cup champion, and his stats display that. In 41 appearances split between the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights, he had a decent 16-15-2 record but also a rough 3.41 goals-against average (GAA) and a .882 save percentage (SV%). These statistics were far below the NHL average.

Jonathan Quick Vegas Golden Knights
Jonathan Quick, Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Yet, Quick improved following his trade the Golden Knights, posting a 5-2-2 record and a .901 SV%. Thus, perhaps this is an indicator that the former star netminder is heading into the right direction. It also does not hurt that he will have a strong defensive group playing in front of him with the Rangers. This also has the potential to help him bounce back a bit.

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It is also important to note that Quick had a .910 SV% and a 2.59 GAA with the Kings just back in 2021-22. Therefore, he was still an effective goalie pretty recently. Let’s see if playing for his childhood team is enough for him to regain this form in 2023-24 from here.

Blake Wheeler

Blake Wheeler is another Rangers bounce-back candidate heading into the new season. After being stripped of the Winnipeg Jets’ captaincy before the start of last season, he had 16 goals and 55 points in 72 games. These numbers were not bad in the slightest, but the Minnesota native is known for producing at a higher rate. For example, just back in 2022-23, he had 17 goals and 60 points in just 65 games.

Blake Wheeler Winnipeg Jets
Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A change of scenery was long overdue for Wheeler, and now he has gotten his fresh start with a deep Rangers club. The 37-year-old will have plenty of skilled players to work with, and this should help his pace of production go back up this season. This is especially so if the Rangers utilize him often on their power play.

Nevertheless, it is apparent that Trouba, Quick, and Wheeler all have the potential to bounce back this upcoming season. If they do, it will only make the Rangers stronger as they look to push for the Stanley Cup.

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