The New York Rangers’ lineup is going to look very different next season. It is still hard to tell just how different, but new additions will surely leave an impact.
Alexandar Georgiev may lose his job backing up Henrik Lundqvist in favor of Igor Shesterkin, who the Rangers signed several days ago after being drafted in 2014. Vitali Kravtsov, the Rangers’ first overall selection in last year’s draft should make it as well. New addition and Hobey Baker finalist Adam Fox will likely be in the mix, too.
But this doesn’t at all imply that they’re going to have good seasons. Last season was one of adjustment, to a new coach and a new status. But with the Rangers coming close to concluding their rebuild, several players are primed to break out and lead the way into a new era.
Filip Chytil Will Become Lethal
Filip Chytil now has one full season under his belt, in addition to a couple games during the season prior. He has seen plenty of North American ice and has shown flashes of brilliance at times.
Chytil has a sniper shot with the ability to pick corners and elevate the puck. With open ice in front of him, he expands his strides and is good at squarely beating his defender to dangerous areas in front of the net.
His key issue this past season was consistency. He would be visible for several games in a row, creating chances and maybe even scoring, but then would go invisible for the next few weeks. This is normal of a young player still adjusting.
But with a better supporting cast and an improving team overall, he is poised to start using his weapons. If he continues to find open areas of the ice, and so long that he works on being more consistent, Chytil will be an exciting player to watch next season.
Prediction: Chytil will score at least 40 points with at least 20 goals.
Anthony DeAngelo Will Be Rangers’ New Offensive Weapon on Defense
Anthony DeAngelo proved a lot this season. After he was traded to New York in the deal that sent Derek Stepan to the Arizona Coyotes, expectations were high. He was a solid prospect who, despite his behavior issues, had a lot of upside.
Well, DeAngelo has arrived. After receiving little playing time in Arizona and New York prior to this season, he played in 61 games and notched 30 points. A 23-year-old scoring 30 points in his first full season as a top-six defender is pretty good.
The recent arrival of Fox should put a little pressure on DeAngelo, since now there are two young right-handed defensemen potentially penciled into the Rangers’ top-six.
DeAngelo is an incredibly smooth skater who is excellent at using nifty puck handling moves to evade opponents. He is good at finding open ice and has zero hesitation when it comes to taking shots and creating chances. His defensive skills have been improving greatly and that will allow him to become a more well-rounded player as well.
With other young defensemen in the mix, such as Fox and Libor Hajek, DeAngelo may look to become a leader on defense. Kevin Shattenkirk has been proven expendable, and Fox is only a rookie who hasn’t even made the team yet. There’s a new right-handed defensive sheriff in town, and his name is DeAngelo.
Prediction: DeAngelo will score at least 45 points next season.
Pavel Buchnevich Will Be the Player Rangers Have Been Waiting For
Pavel Buchnevich looked as though he had the makings of a star awhile back. He performed extremely well in the KHL, leaving Rangers fans excited for his arrival after they drafted him.
Despite this, he has not yet broken out to become that caliber of player. He wasn’t a first-round pick, so this isn’t completely surprising. But, nonetheless, a lot is expected of him.
Two seasons ago, Buchnevich scored 43 points. This is impressive for a sophomore third-round draft pick. This season he found consistency hard to come by. He came on strong at the end of the season though, and managed to bring his point total to 38.
This is not his ceiling. He is not a player who is only going to score around 40 points a season, especially considering the talent the Rangers have been accumulating.
Buchnevich found ways in the latter half of the season to capitalize on opportunities. Many of his goals were not pretty ones, but that is not a factor in determining who wins games. He can score and he is only getting better.
Prediction: Buchnevich will break 60-point mark next season.
The Rangers have a multitude of players who could potentially break out next season. They have a plethora of prospects and growing youngsters looking to make their mark. But watch out for these three.