New York Rangers 2005-2006
TEAM PAYROLL: $ 32,154,348
GENERAL MANAGER: Glen Sather; 5th year with Rangers
HEAD COACH: Tom Renney; 2nd year with Rangers
Forgotten Moves: During the off-season before the lockout the Rangers had acquired forward Michael Nylander, and goaltender Kevin Weekes. The Nylander signing was a good move by Sather; Nylander has a great vision on the ice, and is a excellent playmaker. Since Mike Dunham’s contract was up, Sather went out and got Weekes. Weekes has proven himself in the past, with some decent seasons with the Hurricanes, and played great during the 01-02 playoffs. Weekes will be a mentor, for the backup goalie in this upcoming season who is yet to be named.
Team Mode: The Rangers are currently in a re-building phase. It has gone well, bringing up prospects that are ready for the NHL. Training camp will determine which players will start the season with the big club, and also end the year. It shall be exciting to see how the Rangers end up in the East.
To take charge: New York will need all the veterans to step up, and give it there all, especially Darius Kasparaitis, Jaromir Jagr, and Steve Rucchin. The youngsters will need guidance from these three. Jagr isn’t the guy who is a good leader, but Rucchin and Kaspar are great leaders. Rucchin has always been a good leader for the Ducks, and Kaspar is the guy for the young defenseman to look up to.
On the rush (offense): In the past few seasons, the Rangers have had bad numbers, in general as a team. Their key to the offense, is certainly Jaromir Jagr. Sather has surrounded Jagr’s offense with a Czech/ European back round. Guys like Straka and Rucinsky. Straka had a 95 point season on 00-01 playing with Jagr, and he had 121 points that season. These two back together will be the Rangers 1-2 punch. Other youngsters in the lineup including Josef Balej, Jed Ortmeyer, and Jamie Lundmark. Lundmark will be entering his 3rd season, he has only compiled 29 points in his first 111 games. Lundmark needs a breakout season. The power play will be interesting, in 03-04 they were ranked 25th. Jagr, Straka, Nylander, Balej, Poti, Tyutin should make the power play better this year than last season. The penalty kill scoring threat is good. Nylander, and Straka will be killing penalties, and all they’ll need is a strong pass to either one, and they have a chance to score a few goals on the PK.
Covering the D-zone: Sather has made a few moves for the defense. Signed Marek Malik, who is a solid defensive defenseman, which the Rangers have lacked for quite some time now. Also signed puck moving defenseman Roszival. They also have Kasparaitis, Tom Poti, and Fedor Tyutin. Tomas Pock and Maxim Kondratiev are also fighting for a roster spot. Before the lockout, Tyutin showcased his talent, and was very solid, played 25 games, scored 2 goals, and 5 assists. Expect Tyutin to log a lot of minutes this season. With the new rule changes, this is time for Poti to shine as a top scoring defenseman. In 02-03 Poti had 48 points, and he should get even more than that this season. The defense isn’t looking too young, but that’s fine, they’ll have two young defenseman this season, and that’s all they need at this time.
Guarding the net: Kevin Weekes is going to start the season in goal. Weekes is mainly here to mentor young Henrik Lundqvist who has the best chance to the back-up role. Weekes has had a couple decent seasons with the Hurricanes, makes him a decent number 1. Though throughout the season Lundqvist will probably take over the top spot. The Swede is expected to be the best goalie to come out of Sweden and he had a very solid training camp thus far.
Talking about my generation: The Rangers have a very solid farm system, and solid prospects. Fedor Tyutin is up there, he is the future of the team. He already has is roster spot has one of the top defensemen. Tyutin is a solid all around defenseman. Another one, is sniper Josef Balej. Balej has incredible speed, and a great shot. Terrific stick handler, and drives to the net. He has the ability to score 20-30 goals in this upcoming season. Henrik Lundqvist is going to be a very important piece to the puzzle for the Rangers. Lundqvist is a solid goalie, some say he will be the best goalie out of Sweden. He has a great glove hand, he’s got good vision, and great hockey sense.
Expectations: 14-15th in Eastern Conference
Projected: I think that the Rangers will finish 11-13th in the Eastern Conference. They have a real young team. After they get used to each other and create some chemistry I think they’ll turn it on.