The New York Rangers are spicing things up for the upcoming season! Find out how they will bounce back from last season’s stumble in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Why did the New York Rangers stumble in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New Jersey Devils? According to the big boss, President and General Manager Chris Drury, it all boiled down to one word: speed. Now, they’re on a mission to dial up the intensity alongside their arsenal of offensive talent.
Chris Drury’s Vision for Rangers’ Gritty Redemption in 2023-24:
In a press conference at the MSG training center on Thursday, Drury laid it out, saying, “Our guys know the deal – to make it in the regular season and the playoffs, you’ve got to own all three zones.” He’s convinced the team is ready for the challenge. The Rangers have offseason acquisitions Blake Wheeler and Tyler Pitlick, both no stranger to the rough stuff.
Even Jimmy Vesey has transformed his game to play with some extra oomph. And let’s not forget about Barclay Goodrow and Nick Bonino, who’ll play a pivotal role as fourth-line grinders. “We’ve got many guys who can bring that sandpaper edge and push our skill players to do the same.”
However, the real test is on the core group, most returning to the scene. It’s their job to embrace this new grit-meets-glitz approach set by Drury and coach Peter Laviolette. Their blend of skill and toughness will determine how far they can go.
One Ranger who’s practically bouncing off the boards with excitement is Artemi Panarin. In those seven postseason games against the Devils, the $11.6 million man managed to cook up just two assists – and a pitful zero points in the last six games. Over the summer, the 31-year-old decided to part ways with his hair, hoping it would also part ways with those pesky “bad spirits” from that playoff series. Drury threw his support behind the breadman.
“Artemi is world-class, both on and off the ice. He was understandably frustrated at the end of last season, and he’s been grinding hard this summer, mentally and physically. He’s absolutely starving for another outstanding regular season and a shot at redemption in the playoffs. He’s raring to go.”
Panarin and the veteran Chris Kreider are at the top of the Rangers’ left-wing depth chart. That doesn’t leave much room for aspiring players like Brennan Othmann and Alex Belzile to make their mark.
Drury’s take? “Lavi’s got the lineup card, folks. Laf and Brennan Othmann have both said they’re up for the right-wing challenge, and I fully expect them to get a fair shot during training camp.”
As for the overall roster, Drury has a content grin. Of course, things can twist and turn within the season, but as of now, they’ve said “thanks but no thanks” to any last-minute free agents or professional tryout contracts. Yes, even Patrick Kane, who’s still on the market.
“We’ve got faith in the players we’ve already got on board,” Drury quipped. “With 48 contracts out of a maximum 50, we want our signed players to strut their stuff at camp without needing extra tryouts.”
So, there you have it. The Rangers are cooking up a spicy blend of skill and toughness. With fresh eyes on the ice under coach Laviolette, they’re hungry for a deeper playoff run and aiming to wash away the bitterness of last season’s defeat. Is it October yet?