The Three Major Threats to the New York Rangers Stanley Cup Ambitions and Aspirations

Mar 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) circles back after
Mar 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) circles back after / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Colorado Avalanche

Out in the West, a formidable force lies in wait for the victor of the Eastern Conference. The frontrunner to emerge from the West is none other than the Colorado Avalanche. Boasting the same core that led them to Stanley Cup glory in 2022, the Avalanche are poised to make a bid for their second championship in just three years. This season holds the promise of a triumphant return to the pinnacle of the sport for the Avalanche, a feat that their talented roster is more than capable of achieving.

Former Ranger Alexandar Georgiev in goal gives the Avalanche a reliable goaltender, though he is not a star netminder. He'll stop pucks and provide the Avalanche with a chance to win every year, more than Darcy Kuemper did the year that Colorado won the Stanley Cup. While Georgie can stop pucks, his former teammates have an excellent record shooting against him. Justus Annunen, as his backup, has been very strong, too, so there is a great tandem here.

On the backend, Cale Makar is the pride of Colorado. Perhaps the only true adversary to Adam Fox on the blue line, Makar is one of the best defensemen to suit up for the NHL. Already a Conn Smythe winner, a Norris Trophy winner, and breaking NHL records by defensemen, this talent could cause problems for any opponent the Avalanche come up against. Devin Toews, Josh Manson, and Samuel Girard make up the rest of a dangerous top four in Denver. With Sean Walker coming in from Philadelphia at the deadline, they have depth, too.

Up front, Nathan MacKinnon is one of the league's elite. A dominant centerman, he's a threat on his own. New York is the only team to keep him off the scoreboard at Ball Arena in Denver this season. He's not alone, with Mikko Rantanen's ability to score, too. Jonathan Drouin, Arturri Lehkonen, Casey Middelstadt, Valeri Nichushkin, Zach Parise, Ross Colton, and Miles Wood round out a dangerous forward group in Denver. They can score for fun and have a supporting cast behind them to seal the wins they earn.

If the Avalanche and Rangers face-off, it'll be in the final. There is no other way for these two teams to go at it. At that point, the season will be a success for both teams. Winning is the ultimate goal, but that is a series that could go both ways. Who is the biggest threat to the New York Rangers Stanley Cup aspirations this season?