2019 New York Rangers Odds to win Stanley Cup with Expert Predictions
Last year was an ugly one for the New York Rangers, as they finished seventh in the eight-team Metropolitan Division and missed the playoffs for the second straight year. David Quinn was in his first year coaching his team, and 32 wins was not what he was looking for - though it was not less than the team deserved given what they put on the ice. But they are trying to do a challenging task, but one that will pay off mightily if they can manage it - rebuilding without bottoming out. They ditched most of their older players, grabbing assets in return. And they are hoping they can convert those assets into positive gains in the short term and beyond. It's a tough task that many teams have failed at, but they had a strong offseason that makes it easier to believe in their chances.
New York Rangers Offseason Moves
It was a bold offseason for the Rangers. They grabbed the biggest offensive prize available in free agency when they inked forward Artemi Panarin, most recently of Columbus, for seven years. It cost them a staggering $12 million per year, but he can certainly back that up with productivity. They also looked to improve their defense by trading for Jacob Trouba and then by finally signing college star Adam Fox after both Calgary and Carolina had failed to do so. And they re-signed forward Pavel Buchnevich, who has shown flashes of real upside in parts of three seasons with the team. They also bought out defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who was a big free agent prize in 2017, showing how quickly things can go south now in this league when players turn 30.
Though all of those moves were positive and improved the team, the biggest
splash down the road likely came in the draft. The Rangers were lucky
enough to land the second overall pick in the draft and used it to select
Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko. Along with top pick Jack Hughes, who now plays
just down the road in New Jersey, Kakko was one of two can't-miss gems of
this draft class, and he is a major prize for this team. He's only 18, but
he looked good playing against men at the World Championship this spring,
scoring six times in 10 games. One interesting storyline is that he has
both type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, so managing his health is going to
be an ongoing storyline. As long as they can stay on top of that, though,
the kid has a chance to be special.
New York Rangers NHL Outlook
There are some young guys who are really going to be worth keeping an eye on this year, and their development will have a lot to do with what this team does. And we're obviously talking about more than just Kakko here. Defenseman Libor Hajek, who the team acquired from the Lightning, looked very strong out of camp as a rookie last year but was hurt and lost for the year just five games in. He's healthy and ready to go again now. Along with Fox, and Tony DeAngelo, who was actually once traded by Tampa to Arizona for the draft pick that became Hajek, the team has a defensive group that is very young but has massive upside. Five of their six likely defensive starters are 25 or younger, so this is a group they could ride for a long time if things work out as they hope. And up front it's guys like Buchnevich, who will likely have the luxury of playing beside the explosive Panarin, who could really take strides that could advance this club.
New York Rangers Schedule
The young Rangers play seven of their first 10 games, and 11 of their first 15, at home. That can come back to haunt them later on when the balance has to be restored and they go on the road more as a result, but it is a good chance for the group to settle in and find their way while they are comfortable early on.
New York Rangers NHL Futures Odds
The Rangers are one of four teams at +2500 to win the Stanley Cup, which ties them as the 15th choice. They are tied with their neighbors, the Islanders and the Devils, as the seventh choice to win the Eastern Conference at +1200. They are the seventh choice to win the Metropolitan Division at +800, but the favored Capitals are only at +400, so they are far from a big long shot. Their season point total is set at 87.5 with balanced action. They are +140 to make the playoffs, compared to -160 to miss them.
2019-20 New York Rangers Predictions
I really don't know what I think about the Rangers just yet. At least not in the short term. In the next two or three years, they have a chance to be quite good and should return back to being a playoff fixture. But this is a very tough year to be an Eastern Conference team, with most of last year's playoff teams still in the mix, and squads like Florida and New Jersey dramatically improved. The Rangers will take a big step forward from their 78 points of last year, but until we see how the roster comes together, and how much time the young talent needs to figure things out, we can't know just how much of a step they will take. I feel like they are going to fade from playoff contention down the stretch, but a ceiling of 90 points feels within reach if things go reasonably well for them. And, no matter what, they absolutely won't be the worst team that plays in MSG. The Knicks have that honor wrapped up for the next decade. Or five.
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