The 2021-22 New York Rangers
This season a majority of NHL fans would say that what the New York Rangers have done this year is very shocking. Coming into the season, the Rangers were expected to be a fringe playoff contender but that has not been the case. The hopes were high for the Rangers and they have greatly exceeded expectations.
The Rangers have constantly stayed in a playoff spot all season long. Coming into the year, in the ending phases, of one of the best rebuilds in all of the pro sports, the Rangers were playoff hopefuls. With the incredible season the Rangers are having, they have a 94. 9 percent chance of making the playoffs and don’t show signs of slowing down.
With a ton of new faces on the team and in management, the Rangers were a bit of a wild card team but against all odds and a bit of adversity, the Blueshirts are in it to win it.
How we got here
The New York Rangers are in this spot for a couple of reasons. Igor Shesterkin is having arguably the best season ever by a goalie. Igor is posting a stat-line of a 22-5-2 W-L-OT record. 2.10 GAA, and a .937 SV%. His MVP caliber play, known by every player in the league, has brought him into MVP talks as of late.
Chris Kreider is having himself a career year, being a PPG player, while also leading the NHL in goals. Kreider is in his second year of a six million dollar contract and is showing any doubters, that he is well worth the money.
The defensive pairing of Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren has been one of the best league-wide. Fox signed a ten million dollar contract this year and has played phenomenally. Adam Fox is having another Norris caliber season, being elite defensively, while also leading the NHL in points by a defenseman. His partner in crime Ryan Lindgren is also playing out of this world. Lindgren is on a two-million-dollar contract but using a contract projection algorithm, is playing at a six-million-dollar level.
Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin are both having down years for their standards but are both at above a PPG pace. Mika had a slow start to the season but as of late has been playing Mika hockey, being second in the NHL in points since December, 15. Panarin is playing great hockey now, but he has
Quality hockey being played by Alexis Lafreniere, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko, Barclay Goodrow, and Jacob Trouba has helped the Rangers in their current race for the playoffs. A great mid-six forward group playing a great 200-foot game, every night is another key factor.
What and who do they need?
With the roster assembled in New York, it would be hard to find some players to fit the Rangers needs but for a Stanley Cup, the missing pieces have to be occupied. Needed positions for the Rangers up front are a second or third center. Depending on if you want to break up lines will determine where a new center plays. Bottom pairing defenseman. With the Fox-Lindgren and Miller-Trouba pairing, the Rangers defense needs are on the bottom pair. The Rangers, also need their players to stay healthy. In the last two months, the Blueshirts have lost many key players to injuries. For a deep playoff run, we need health.
Possible trade targets
Most have heard of the possible J.T Miller reunion. Given Vancouver still wanting a playoff spot, it most likely won’t happen. A more realistic target would be Andrew Copp. Copp would be a great fit on Broadway with affordable trade value. Copp, is currently on Winnipeg, who is not entirely out of the playoff race, making him a bit harder to get. Max Domi, is a more realistic target on a seller team come to the trade deadline. both players could play center on the third or second line, making a deep forward group that much better.
On the back end, Ben Chiarot and Mark Giordano are two great fits. Giordano will bring leadership and experience with a refined two-way game. Then with the addition of Chiarot, the Rangers will get a reliable shut down player.
If the Rangers make a few changes I feel they can not only make a deep run but win the whole thing. This team time and time again has shown how relentless they are. From every interaction I have with the players outside MSG, you can tell there is something different about these Rangers. From the way they are in the media to how they show up to flights, this team is on an unseen level. “How Bout Them Rangers”!