NHL.com is reviewing each team’s position for the 2021-22 regular season, which begins October 12. Today, five questions facing the New York Rangers:
1. Can GÃ©rard Gallant overthrow them?
Gallant replaced David Quinn as Rangers coach on June 16 after finishing fifth in the eight-team MassMutual East Division (27-23-6) and failing to advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The 58-year-old is 270-216-51 with four draws with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights. He’s 18-15 in 33 playoff games, including leading the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural 2017-18 season.
âWhen I was in Vegas we went to training camp with a plan, we put our systems in place and we expected everyone to play a 200 foot game,â Gallant said in June. . âEveryone is good defensively, everyone is good offensively, everyone plays a role in the hockey team. This is what is important to me.
âIt won’t take 15 guys to win, it will take 23 guys from your roster to win games every night. I will try to make every player important to our hockey team. Everyone has a role to play, and that’s what we expect. “
Video: Rangers’ expectations under GÃ©rard Gallant
2. Have they changed their identity?
Rangers injected courage and Stanley Cup playoff experience this offseason with the addition of forwards Ryan reaves, Barclay goodrow and Sammy Blais, and the defenders Patrik Nemeth and Jarred Tinordi.
Reaves, acquired in a deal with the Golden Knights on July 29, suffered 937 penalty minutes in 686 NHL games and played 84 playoff games. Goodrow won a second straight Stanley Cup championship with the Tampa Bay Lightning before being acquired in a trade on July 17. Blais, acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues for the forward Pavel Boutchnevich on July 23, helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup in 2019.
Nemeth and Tinordi each signed with the Rangers as free agents on July 28. Nemeth had 182 penalty minutes in 366 regular season games and has 28 games of playoff experience. Tinordi racked up 123 penalty minutes in 102 games and had 56 hits in 21 games for the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators last season.
3. A Igor shesterkin proven himself as a full-time starting goalie?
Shesterkin, who accepted a four-year contract on Aug. 10 after going 16-14-3 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and two shutouts in 35 games (31 starts ), should play the big season. The 25-year-old built on his strong performance in 2019-2020 (10-2-0, 2.52 GAA, .932 save percentage in 12 games, all starts).
Rangers also have guardians Alexander Georgiev (8-7-2, 2.71 GAA, .905 save percentage in 19 games last season) and Keith kinkaid (3-2-1, 2.59 GAA, 0.898 save percentage in nine games).
Video: Igor Shesterkin’s top 10 saves for the 2021 season
4. Can Adam fox to be even better?
Fox won the Norris Trophy voted best defenseman in the NHL after finishing second in his position with 47 points (five goals, 42 assists), one less than Tyson barrie of the Edmonton Oilers.
He posted a plus-19 rating in 55 games and led the Rangers in average ice time per game (24:42), three minutes ahead of the defenseman Jacob Trouba, who was second (21:29). Fox led the Rangers defensemen in power play ice time per game (3:45) and power play ice time (2:36). He scored 23 points on the power play, had 102 blocked shots and was third in takeout (38).
“[Fox] will be the first to tell you that he would not be in the position he is in without his teammates, âhe added. Chris Kreider said Aug. 12. âAt the same time, we wouldn’t be in the position we are as a team without him. He means so much to our group, in the locker room and on the ice.
5. Will they appoint a captain?
General manager Chris Drury has said he would like to have a captain this season, something the Rangers haven’t had since the defender Ryan mcdonagh was traded to the Lightning on February 26, 2018.
Kreider is the longest-serving Rangers player. The 30-year-old played 573 regular season games and 80 playoff games in nine seasons, all with New York.
âI think if we can keep pushing this thing forward, a big part of it for me would be having a captain,â Drury said. “For me that’s a priority, but at the end of the day it’s got to be the right person. I’m not interested in giving it to someone just to say we have a captain, but I think we have a lot of leaders in our room and our leaders who have made great strides in the past two years, including the second half of last season. “