New York Rangers: Predicting who will replace Derek Stepan

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Brandon Cohen-

Regardless of who the Rangers do or do not acquire, Mika Zibanejad will spend the most time of anyone as New York’s top line center.

While Alain Vigneault strangely criticized Zibanejad following the Rangers’ postseason exit, Zibanejad was one of the few players who looked impressive during the run. When healthy last season, the newcomer looked headed in the direction of being a top line center.

Additionally, New York’s other options do not look promising. Even if the Rangers sign Joe Thornton, odds are he will need less playing time than a top center gets. Zibanejad will earn the role by scoring early and often, as well as using his ability to play in all situations to his advantage.

So, the prediction is regardless of who the Rangers acquire, Zibanejad will be the top line center.