As we approached the start of this season, the expectations for the New York Rangers were incredibly high. There were hopes of the team bringing the Stanley Cup back to Manhatten for the fifth time in the history of the franchise and while that is still very possible, they have to go through the New Jersey Devils to do so. This is going to be a tight matchup and it is really difficult to predict this series.
As children, we are taught that the best indicator of the future is the past. If you do not believe this applies to hockey, look at the Toronto Maple Leafs. If I give you $1000 to bet on a series between the Leafs and Bruins, you should be betting on the Bruins. Why? Death, taxes, and the Leafs losing in game 7 at TD Garden are inevitable. It’s a good indicator of how those two cores will clash when faced against each other.
There is no recent history for the Devils and the Rangers so the best course of action in my humble opinion is to look back at the regular season and evaluate the production of the Rangers. While it has not been a smooth season for the Rangers’ top six, it has been good enough to justify their third place in the Metropolitan Division. They have shown that there are enough weapons on this roster to hurt teams that have issues defensively.
For clarification, when I say the top six, I am not talking about anyone that was in the top six prior to the trade deadline. I am talking about the players that make up the top six as of tonight here in the wake of the defeat to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the season finale. That is made up of the six players you will see here. I will do another piece for the bottom six, an additional one for the defense, and one more for the netminding.