New York Rangers: Predicting the 2017-18 offense

Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

John Williams

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich

J.T. Miler- Kevin Hayes- Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast

As you can see, I think the Rangers will open the season with the exact same forward group as they had last year. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, because I don’t think they need to make any changes with the forward group as long as the defense is rebuilt completely. I will say this though; I don’t feel nearly as confident about this than I did just two days ago.

The chances that Derek Stepan is traded are pretty decent, even though they would be making a mistake by letting him go. The common misconception with Stepan is that when people say “he’s not a number one center,” they really mean that he isn’t in that top tier of centers but they don’t realize it.

Stepan is a leader in the room, is one of the best defensive centers in the league and has tallied at least 51 points in each of his five full 82 game seasons since his rookie year. They would need to get a king’s ransom in return for a trade to be worth it.

Expansion

Then of course, you have the possibility that one of their fourth liners is selected in the Expansion Draft. I think, or at least I hope, that ultimately, the Golden Knights will select Nick Holden. They are gonna need veteran players on their defense and the fact that he scored 11 goals last year will ultimately lead to his departure. This means that all those fourth liners will remain here.

Like I said at the top, maybe this is just wishful thinking. This is the best route for the Rangers to take. If they can sign Shattenkirk and re-sign Brendan Smith while somehow getting rid of Marc Staal’s contract, this team is more than capable of contending with the forward group they currently have.