New York Rangers 2019-20 Season Preview
Going into the 2019-20 NHL season, despite signing free agents Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba, the Rangers should finish out of the playoffs in the Metropolitan Division. That being said, the Rangers have a good roster of talented young players, who will gain valuable experience this year playing in the National Hockey League (NHL).
At the 2019 NHL Draft, Kaapo Kakko was selected second overall by the Rangers. He is an 18-year old Finnish rookie, who achieved success playing against men in the Finnish Elite League and at the World Championships. Kakko made some excellent plays with the puck in training camp, highlighted by his end-to-end rush and goal at the Traverse City Tournament in September. Through two games in the NHL, Kakko has failed to create as much offense as he did in Finland. This year, the Rangers will make sure Kakko benefits from playing against NHL competition and begins developing into a legitimate superstar that he has the tools to become.
A potential breakout star could be the Blueshirts’ backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Last year, Georgiev posted a .914 save-percentage as the back up to Henrik Lundqvist. In his first game, Georgiev allowed just one goal on 32 shots against the Ottawa Senators. It looks like the 23 year old goaltender will be in great position to succeed Lundqvist as the Rangers’ number one goalie by mid-year.
Brady Skjei has stood out early on as being a potential bust. Skjei was sat for short periods of time last season because he showed a lack of intensity in all three zones. After the Rangers’ first game against the Jets, Skjei was demoted from a first defensive pairing with his long-time friend Jacob Trouba. If Skjei fails to step up his game, he may not live up to the expectations he has to be an All-Star defenseman in the NHL.
Season prediction; Rangers finish in fifth in the Metropolitan Division with 40 wins, 35 losses and ten overtime losses, good for 90 points.
The Rangers have added key players like Trouba and Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, who should have a great season. I still think they are not as good as the best teams in the Metro and finish outside the playoffs.
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