Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich
J.T. Miller-Kevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello
Jesper Fast-Brian Boyle-Michael Grabner
The defense will get a facelift, but I don’t see much change coming for this forward group. That’s not a bad thing since they scored the fourth most goals in the league last season. They put enough pucks in the net to win both of their last two games in Ottawa only to have the blue line crumble under pressure.
While they may not add a sexy name up front, the top nine has a good chance to be even better next season. Both center Mika Zibanjad and winger Pavel Buchnevich stand out as major breakout candidates. Zibanejad’s playoff performance was especially encouraging as he led the Rangers in scoring.
The top nine may stand pat, but the fourth line may see a shakeup. The Rangers probably lose center Oscar Lindberg to Las Vegas in the expansion draft, which will hurt.
With Jesper Fast missing at least a month as he recovers from hip surgery, a young player like Boo Nieves could get a long look in camp. Expect the front office to add a veteran center like old friend Brian Boyle to fill the hole left by Lindberg.