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Previewing the East: N.Y. Rangers

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the New York Rangers:

Coach: Alain Vigneault

Last Year: 45-31-6, 96 points (fifth in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Rangers: 0-2-1
5-on-5 Goals: 142 (11th in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency: 48-for-264, 18.2 percent (10th in Eastern Conference)

2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Mats Zuccarello LW 26 52 77 19 40 59 3 2 0 2
Derek Stepan C 24 59 82 17 40 57 3 0 2 2
Brad Richards C 34 81 82 20 31 51 3 0 0 0
Derick Brassard C 26 114 81 18 27 45 3 1 1 2
Ryan McDonagh D 25 131 77 14 29 43 3 0 3 3
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Henrik Lundqvist 32 7 63 33 24 5 2.36 .920
vs. Red Wings
2 2 0 0 0.00 1.000

2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Nov. 5 (at NYR); Dec. 6 (at DET); Mar. 4 (at NYR).

ARRIVALS:  Forwards Lee Stempniak, Matt Lombardi, Chris Bourque, Tanner Glass, Chris Mueller, Nick Tarnasky; defensemen Dan Boyle, Mike Kostka, Matt Hunwick, Steven Kampfer; and goalie Cedric Desjardins.

DEPARTURES:  Forwards Brad Richards, Derek Dorsett, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot, Michael Haley; and defensemen Anton Stralman, Justin Falk, Raphael Diaz, Stu Bickel and Aaron Johnson.

PLAYER TO WATCH: The terms and money made sense for the Rangers to sign 38-year-old Dan Boyle (two-years, $9 million), a quality defenseman, who still skates very well and can fill the void left by the departure of Anton Stralman. Obviously, Boyle isn’t the player that he once was, but he’s a savvy veteran who can smoothly operate the power play as a valuable right-handed shot from the blue line. Boyle will certainly be an added source of leadership among the young Rangers’ D-men.

SEASON SCOPE: For the first time in 20 years the Rangers reached the Stanley Cup finals. Though they lost the series to the Kings in five games, time waits for no team when it coems to free agency, including the Rangers, who were still dealing with the immense pain of losing the deciding game in double overtime. The Blueshirts lost some good players that chose to join other teams, but they didn’t go on a huge spending spree. Instead, they were frugal in their approach to fill needs. Besides signing Boyle, the Rangers re-signed Dominic Moore, an important two-way forward, before going out and getting six other players, including tough-guy Tanner Glass. Later on, the Blueshirts added veteran depth up front by signing Lee Stempniak and Matt Lombardi.

With the departure of several veterans, including third-line center Brad Richards, the Rangers could look to 21-year-old J.T. Miller, the former Plymouth Whaler, to fill the spot. … Expect emerging young defenseman Ryan McDonagh to likely become the Rangers next captain. He is among the league’s best defenseman and a prospective Norris Trophy contender for seasons to come.

Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)

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