In the last four years, the New York Rangers could very well making case that they are the most consistent NHL team to not have at least one Stanley Cup title during that time period. They have made in the Eastern conference finals in three of those four years, and in 2014, they made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Being consistently good is definitely exciting, but fans really want to see them win their first Stanley Cup since 1994. Even though it is the summer, how does the team stack up against some of the other challengers heading into next year?
It was a bit of an unexpected run in 2013 to get all the way to the Stanley cup finals. They were a bit overmatched once they were there, but they put up the good fight against Los Angeles. This past season, everyone expected them to get back to the Stanley Cup finals, but the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to knock them off. It was still a very successfully year, but they didn’t take care of business in the most crucial parts of the series.
Although New York is going to return plenty of familiar faces, there will be some changes that they need to get through. Martin St. Louis, Cam Talbot and Carl Hagelin are no longer with the team. They could possibly be replaced, but some people are not exactly sold on fresh faces such as Viktor Stalberg and Emerson Etem to pick up the slack. New York has had some adjustment issues for certain players in the past, but most of that is due to picking up players like Rick Nash during the middle of the year.
In the NHL playoffs, goaltending is obviously a very big deal. Henrik Lundqvist is still a trustworthy goaltender, but some people questioned the move by the team to trade Talbot and keep Lundqvist instead of the other way around. Talbot is about five years younger, and he was able to show that he is more than worthy of being a starter in the NHL. He now plays for Edmonton, and New York fans can only hope that Lundqvist has a few years of high-level play left. Otherwise, the Rangers could be trending in the wrong direction.
Making the playoffs should be relatively easy for New York in 2015-2016. If you make the playoffs, you always have a shot in the NHL to win the Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay, Washington and Montreal all probably look slightly better on paper, but the Rangers have plenty of playoff experience to win the Eastern Conference and have a chance to win it all.
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