2017-18 Season Preview: New York Rangers

Updated: October 13, 2017 at 7:50 pm by Brock Seguin

Shattenkirk-Kevin

In 2016-17, the New York Rangers recorded 100-plus points for the third consecutive season an made the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Despite another successful regular season, the Rangers stumbled yet again in the playoffs and underwent a number of changes this offseason. Their first big move was trading Antti Raanta and Derek Stepan to the Arizona Coyotes for Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick, which they used to select Lias Andersson—who was sent back to Frolunda (SHL) this afternoon. Later in the first-round, they picked Filip Chytil, who has had a great preseason and it looks like he’s going to make the team out of training camp.

When free agency opened, the Rangers went out and signed Kevin Shattenkirk to a four-year deal worth $26.6M ($6.65M AAV). Shattenkirk, who is a New York native, was linked to the Rangers because of his hometown ties and he took a bit of a pay-cut to make it happen. Shattenkirk is coming off of a career-year, collecting 56 points (13G / 43A) in 80 games. Over the last four years he is tied for 10th among defensemen in goals (45) and 11th in points (189). It is a huge addition to the Rangers’ blueline and power-play and he should be one of the first 10 defensemen off of the board on draft day. The was the last of New York’s big moves, but they also signed Ondrej Pavelec to be Henrik Lundqvist’s backup as well as David Desharnais and Paul Carey, who are expected to make-up two-thirds of their fourth line.

The Rangers have been shuffling their lines throughout the preseason, so it remains to be seen how they will look come October 5th, but some duos appear to be locked in. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider are expected to be on the top-line with with Mats Zuccarello or Pavel Buchnevich on the right-side. Chytil looks like he will start with Rick Nash on his left or right, depending on who rounds out the line. And Kevin Hayes is expected to centre a line with J.T. Miller on one wing. If those duos all hold strong, that leaves Zucarello, Buchnevich, Jimmy Vesey and/or Michael Grabner to round out the top-9.

LEFT WING CENTER RIGHT WING
Chris Kreider
CHRIS KREIDER
Mika Zibanejad
MIKA ZIBANEJAD
Pavel Buchnevich
PAVEL BUCHNEVICH
Rick Nash
RICK NASH
Filip Chytil
FILIP CHYTIL
Mats Zuccarello
MATS ZUCCARELLO
Michael Grabner
MICHAEL GRABNER
Kevin Hayes
KEVIN HAYES
J.T. Miller
J.T. MILLER
Jimmy Vesey
JIMMY VESEY
David Desharnais
DAVID DESHARNAIS
Paul Carey
PAUL CAREY

Zibanejad was on-pace for a career-high in goals and points last year but missed 26 games due to injury. The 24-year-old pivot was durable early in his career, so expect him to bounce-back with a clean bill of health this season and post 20 goals with assists in the mid-30’s. His linemate, Kreider has been a consistent producer over the years and took his game to a new level last year. The 26-year-old set a career-high in goals (28) and points (53) and is a safe bet for another 25-25 season. It doesn’t really matter if Zuccarello lands with Zibanejad and Kreider or Chytil and Nash, he will get his points. Zuccarello is a great set-up man that makes his linemates better and comes into this season tied for 25th in the NHL in assists (153) over the last four seasons. After a hot start to his rookie season, Buchnevich struggled down the stretch, posting just six points (2G / 4A) in 27 games. Just 22-years-old, Buchnevich should take another step forward this year and top-6 minutes with his skill and shot could lead to a 20-20 second-year. What can you say about Nash? He is one of the best goal scorers of his generation, but is about as inconsistent as you can be. He scored 42 goals on 304 shots in 2014-15, but had just 195 shots last year. If his shot volume remains closer to 200 than 300, he is a 25-goal scorer at best. Hayes, who stands in at 6-foot-5, 227 lbs., has averaged 16 goals and 27 assists (43 points) in his first three seasons—consider that his floor entering his fourth season.

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Ryan McDonagh
RYAN MCDONAGH
Kevin Shattenkirk
KEVIN SHATTENKIRK
Marc Staal
MARC STAAL
Brendan Smith
BRENDAN SMITH
Brady Skjei
BRADY SKJEI
Nick Holden
NICK HOLDEN

On the blueline, Shattenkirk is expected to play alongside longtime-Ranger Ryan McDonagh. The seven-year veteran has been a reliable fantasy defenseman since 2013-14, tying for 21st among blueliners in goals (37) and 27th in points (152) over that stretch. Last year he compiled 15 power-play points, which led to a career-high 36 assists, but with Shattenkirk now in the Big Apple, McDonagh will lose a significant amount of power-play time. This will affect McDonagh’s fantasy value, but he should still anchor the second unit and be a guy who approaches 10 goals with 25-to-30 helpers. Their D-corps is much improved from the start of last season. Brendan Smith was acquired from the Red Wings at last year’s deadline and signed an extension to stay in New York this summer. He has impressive underlying numbers and makes for a strong second-pairing option next to the stay-at-home Marc Staal. Brady Skjei carries some sleeper potential into 2017-18 after surprising with 39 points (5G / 34A) in 80 games last year. The former No.28 overall pick could also see his PP usage diminish with the arrival of Shattenkirk.

GOALIES
Henrik Lundqvist
HENRIK LUNDQVIST
Ondrej Pavelec
ONDREJ PAVELEC

Lundqvist, who is now 35, is coming off of the worst statistical season of his career and that has caused him to plummet in fantasy drafts. The King is currently being drafted as the No.14 goalie in Yahoo! leagues, going in the fifth round on average. This is a stark difference from previous seasons, which makes Lundqvist a value pick for the first time in his career. He is getting up there in age sure, but he is one of the great goalies of his generation and should have no trouble improving on last year’s numbers. This is a goalie who has a career 2.32 goals against average and .920 save percentage, don’t hesitate to take the future Hall of Famer on draft day. King Henrik had a lot more competition for starts with Raanta behind him last year, but with Pavelec as his No.2, he’ll have a longer leash.

Season Outlook

The Rangers made a huge splash by adding Shattenkirk, but will need a player like Zibanejad, Hayes or even Chytil to step up to replace Stepan. They don’t have a go-to scorer like the other team’s in the Metropolitan, but they do it as a team and should be a top-3 team in the Division.

Metropolitan

  1. 1.
  2. 2.
  3. 3. New York Rangers
  4. 4. Columbus Blue Jackets
  5. 5. Carolina Hurricanes
  6. 6. New York Islanders
  7. 7.
  8. 8. New Jersey Devils

Projections

Goals Assists Points
Jimmy Vesey (LW) 27 Mats Zuccarello (RW) 38 Mats Zuccarello (RW) 57
Rick Nash (RW) 26 Kevin Shattenkirk (D) 38 J.T. Miller (C) 57
Chris Kreider (LW) 25 J.T. Miller (C) 33 Mika Zibanejad (C) 51
J.T. Miller (C) 24 Mika Zibanejad (C) 30 Chris Kreider (LW) 51
Mika Zibanejad (C) 21 Kevin Hayes (C) 30 Kevin Shattenkirk (D) 50

Fantasy Rankings (Top 350)

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Brock Seguin

Brock Seguin has been the Editor-In-Chief of DailyFaceoff.com since the 2012-13 season. Feel free to reach Seguin directly @dailyfaceoff or @Brock_Seguin.

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