Finally! For the first time since the New Jersey Devils eliminated the Blueshirts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the New York Rangers will get back into a game. Granted, this is only the beginning of the pre-season for the Franchise, but it’s the official point of return for the NHL season. It’s time for some hockey for the Rangers. What can we expect from the Blueshirts this preseason, and how will this affect the Rangers for the coming season?
Let’s start with this game against the Bruins. This is going to be a lot of guys on the verge between AHL and NHL. We know the bulk of who will make up this Rangers roster, so when looking at this one, we’re looking for impressive performances with more than just production. If someone were to have an excellent time on the penalty kill and look good when faced with sustained defensive zone pressure, that may weigh more than the production here in the preseason.
When it comes to the combinations we see later in the preseason, we could get to a position where we see some different lines to what has been run in practice and under Gerard Gallant as new head coach Peter Laviolette. These probably shouldn’t draw too much of a reaction. We know Laviolette will chop and change as he gets a feel for this group of players because this will be his first chance to see this roster in a game situation under his tutelage.
Results in the preseason should not factor into anything when we talk about expectations. If the Rangers lose every game, they aren’t be contending for the first-overall pick just as much as the team wouldn’t become the Stanley Cup favorite if they were to be perfect through the preseason. This will not affect the regular season. It’s just a chance for us to see what the Rangers have available to them.