New York Rangers: Comparing the future 17-18 team to the 13-14 team

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: Henrik Lundqvist
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: Henrik Lundqvist /
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NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 18: Jesper Fast
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 18: Jesper Fast /


13-14: Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Anton Stralman, Marc Staal, John Moore, Kevin Klein, Raphael Diaz 

In 2014, the Rangers had a solid defensive core. Ryan McDonagh had his best career season in 2014. He finished fifth in regular season points and led the team in post season points. He and Dan Girardi made an effective duo on the Rangers’ top pairing.

Anton Stralman played shut down defense all season long at an elite level alongside Marc Staal on the second pairing. They were able to help protect leads late in games.

Kevin Klein and John Moore formed a solid bottom pairing. They were incredibly effective in the playoffs and a big part of the Rangers’ success.

17-18: Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, Brendan Smith, Marc Staal, Anthony DeAngelo, Nick Holden

Ryan McDonagh has become one of the top defensemen in the league. He has been anchored for the last few seasons by Dan Girardi, who has become one of the worst defensemen in the league.

With an elite offensive defenseman like Kevin Shattenkirk on McDonagh’s right, the Rangers might boast one of the top defensive pairings, if not the best, in the NHL.

The Rangers’ second pairing of Skjei and Smith was effective in the 2017 playoffs. Skjei and Smith both have the ability to move the puck and Brendan Smith is one of the better shot suppressing and blueline defending defensemen in the league.

The Rangers’ bottom pairing is pretty ‘meh’ as it stands. DeAngelo has high offensive potential but still needs to improve defensively. Marc Staal has become pretty awful, just like Girardi, and is a liability on the ice.

Even with a so-so bottom pairing, the 17-18 Rangers will have an elite top four which gives them the edge here.

Advantage: 17-18 New York Rangers