The New York Rangers are Cup Contenders.
Here is my take on the 32 Team League, based on the NHL Standings as of Nov24.2023
These guys were supposed to come back down to earth this season. They lost some key cogs in the machine; however, they replaced them with the Next Man up. It is such a “Well Oiled Machine”, they just simply continue to roll. All They do Is Win, Win , Win…
They struggled for most of the regular season, last year, until the Playoffs of course, then they kicked it into high gear, and they took out the best team in the NHL (Boston in Round 1). The new players are more comfortable in their surroundings. And a Stanley Cup run will always bring teammates closer together. They have formed a solid bond, and they know they can win with that system. It’s a gritty bunch, that’s for sure and Goalie BOB has proven he can take them far.
Detroit Red Wings
Stevie Y built the TB Dynasty in 9 years. He is in year 5 with Detroit, and guess who is getting pumped up for April Hockey, The Winged Wheel.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The TB Dynasty is not officially over, and one should never count out a recent past Champion. But they have lost so much depth over the years, it eventually catches up to you. I think current injuries and the lack of overall team depth has finally caught up to TB.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Their last Stanley Cup was in 1967. They have re-jigged, re-tooled and have limited success to show for it. And guess what, Nylander will be a Free Agent Next Year. Mathews and Marner can hit the Open Market in the 2025-26 season. The Leafs cannot afford to pay everyone $12 Million Plus per year. Is it time to trade some stars for role players who can help them win in April, May, and June?
They were supposed to make the jump this year. I don’t see it. They are one or two years away from making the playoffs.
I really believe in Head Coach Martin St. Louis. I liked his game as a player, and I think he will find success behind the bench. However, I’m not sure it will be with Montreal. It’s been a while since 1993, and Montreal gets impatient. So yes, your parade route will be the same as last year…in April, the Golf Course.
They were supposed to make great strides this year and challenge for a playoff spot. They are struggling to find their game. I’m not sure I count them out just yet. They have had a lot of injuries, so I will wait until January to really count them out.
New York Rangers
I absolutely love the Puck Possession style, that the New York Rangers are playing right now. A healthy NYR lineup, a clicking Power Play, MVP Goaltending, a NO QUIT IN NY attitude and tight Team D, means the Blueshirts will challenge for that Silver Mug in April. Hello 1994, move over and let’s welcome 2024.
So, I must say, I did not expect to see the Caps way up here at this time of year. They got off to a slow start, and I expected the downward spiral to appear. Instead, they went 9-2 over their last 11 games, beating the Devils, NYI and Vegas to name a few. Just like the Penguins, it’s the Caps last hurrah . Backstrom is gone and the rest are getting grey by the day. Sorry, but it feels more like a golf club rather than a hockey stick, come April.
It’s time to pick up the pace Canes. Ya better watch it or your window to chase that cup will close. It is this year, or a re-jig will occur.
I am shocked to see Phila this high in the standings. I thought this was another rebuild year for the Black and Orange. My first thought was, they must have had a weak schedule. However, the Flyers just took out LA, the Canes, and Vegas. They just put together a 5-games win streak, until they Played the Islanders and the Rangers. So, what are you telling me., that Orange is the New Black?
New York Islanders
November has not been kind to the Island. They lost 7-games in a row. I know that they played tough teams in that stretch, however, losing to some of the others along the way, simply cannot happen to a NYI team hoping to contend. It’s time to start stacking W’s or its time to polish up those irons.
Will this year be their year? Well, it De-Pens. It is most definitely the ”Old Guys” last dance. The Penguins Core 3 are all still playing at a high level, however, the Penguins have so many holes to fill; weak D, Goaltending issues, and no cap space. So, its going to be “trade deadline carnage” for these waddling Penguins.
New Jersey Devils
They have had injuries to key cogs in the Devils machine, to start the season. I can see them getting healthy and picking up steam after x-mas. I’m not counting them out just yet. They are to young and motivated to bail, just yet.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Stars must play like stars. When you get $8 or $9 Million, you must perform. Period. It’s a bust. The star players are playing below expectations. This model is broken.
These guys are for real. Tough to play against night in and night out. Good G-Man. Deep, Heavy Team.
A Championship type lineup, that, when healthy, is ready to contend for another cup. They look ready to roll.
They seem to be playing in a system that is leading them to success. Maybe less star power and more grinders, who bring effort, heart, and desire, is the magic formula in WIN-i-peg.
St. Louis Blues
They look to have the Horses on D, and if Binnington regains his past form, they could be there in April. However, it appears they are weak on offense.
I’m not sure why they are still in Arizona.
I think they are getting closer, just not yet.
They are underperforming so far this year. The need to get gritty and play to their MO, or it will be blown up.
Enjoy watching Bedard. It’s time to tank and get another high draft pick. (Just like the Kane / Toews rebuild years).
Vegas Golden Knights
A Rock-Solid lineup, ready to lead another charge. I do not see any holes on this team. Period.
A nice surprise for sure. Their pieces are falling into place. The New Coach has got them believing in themselves again. I don’t know about J.T. Miller leading the NHL in scoring at the end of the season, however, he does have grit and others have finally stepped it up.
These guys are strong up the middle. LA is a big team, that can play tough in the corners. They have goaltending that can go on a run.
Little Offense, weak goaltending and relying on perfect Defense to win games, only lasts for so long. The bubble burst. Welcome to the reality of the NHL, Seattle.
Tank Time. Rebuild it. Trade assets for draft picks.
First, they could not re-sign their star players, so they had to trade them away. Ouch. Then, their GM left for Toronto. Oh Boy. Next, the new guys are playing below expectations, so you blame and fire your coach. Yikes, now what? It looks like you are going down in a flaming hot mess, is what it looks like from here.
This is a disaster right before our eyes. Despite having the 2-Best Players in the game, its a 100% Tire Fire. At the beginning of this year, these guys were Predicted to Win the Stanley Cup. They won’t. They are simply “NOT A WELL-OILED MACHINE”, despite having FOUR #1 PICKS, (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015)! They have yet to solve their Goalie issues, and Defensive problems. Oh, and by the way, Yzerman had already built one Dynasty (TB) and is now working on his second, (Detroit) during this timeframe.
San Jose Sharks
It’s tank time, trade assets and contracts that do not fit into the long-term plan and build up draft capital along the way.
1st – in the Metropolitan Division
2nd – in Eastern Conference
3rd – Overall in NHL
My View from the Cheap Seats
Section: TV Row: PVR Seat: The Couch
Based on the games that I have seen so far this year, my eye test tells me that these are the Teams who are sitting at the Adult Table…
Boston and the Panthers in the Atlantic.
New York Rangers and Canes in the Metro.
Dallas and Colorado in the Central.
Vegas and LA Kings in the Pacific
Quote of the Day:
Jogi Berra – NY Yankees Catcher