2011-2012 Rangers Season Preview

The Rangers hope John Tortorella can actually smile this season, and have less of these death stares

It’s hard to believe but the NHL season begins this week. I have to be honest it snuck up on me, but it’s an exciting time right now as it’s about the busiest month of the year in sports.

The 2011 NHL season for the New York Rangers begins far from home. They have been traveling through Europe playing a series of preseason games against fellow NHL squads as well as European teams. It’s too early to comment on how the preseason has gone, but the Rangers have been decently successful so far, and that’s without one of their best young players in Staal.

Last season wasn’t bad for the Rangers, as they overcome some injuries and offensive issues to make the playoffs. They played the Capitals well in the first round but lost some very tough overtime games.

The offseason can be highlighted by the signing of Brad Richards who is a veteran C, who has consistently put up a good amount of points throughout his ten year career. Richards will join Marion Gaborik on the first line, and hopefully will develop some chemistry to get the puck in the net more this season. The biggest hurdle for this duo of is to stay healthy, as both have bad their concerns, especially Gaborik.

The second line will be headed by Brendon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, while guys like Rupp and Boyle will need to continue to be lockdown forwards. The Rangers certainly have been productive in keeping the puck of the net with strong defense outside of the goaltender, but for them to take it to the next level they must improve here as well. If Marc Staal can stay healthy and Dan Girardi

continues his strong defensive play, the Rangers could find the defense they are looking for. The Rangers remain a young team with many breakout players mixed with some aging Veterans. If the Rangers can have someone like Tim Erixon breakout this year, the future will remain bright for the Blueshirts.

In the net will be the always reliable Henrik Lundqvist, who we can only expect to be great once again. With better defense, we

King Henrik in goal means the Rangers are always in the game

won’t have to lean on him to make amazing saves night and night out, and he can really shine bright. The great news is the Rangers also have a very good backup goalie in Marty Biron. If Biron can continue the success he had last year, it will give the Rangers the chance to rest King Hendrik on a consistent basis and keep him fresh right through the season and hopefully into the playoffs.

Outlook for 2011-12 Season:

The Rangers have improved through some offseason moves, by cutting some loses and adding a very solid player in Brad Richards. If Richards and Gaborik stay healthy, along with Marc Staal, the Blueshirts could be looking at a very good season. It’s reasonable to expect the Rangers to return to the postseason and improve their standing a bit. The Rangers still play in a very good division, perhaps the best in the league, but the division should yield 3 or 4 playoff teams this season. The Rangers figure to one of them, and grab a better first round matchup. This team is always built to succeed in the playoffs with Lundqvist in goal, but how far they go is solely based on how much scoring they can find. My prediction is the 6th Seed in the East, and a possible first round upset.

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