In line with analyzing each NHL team in their offseason series, NHL.com has the New York Rangers today with staff writer Dave Lozo taking a look at a team with fresh faces coming off a 109-point season last year.
Lozo believes adding Rick Nash will provide the Blueshirts with a new dimension on offense and he’ll embrace the challenge of bringing a Stanley Cup to Broadway.
“I’ll embrace it great,” Nash said. “I think in 2010, I had the most pressure on me in the Olympics being in our home country. I feel like hockey is truly a passion here where they expect the same championship-caliber team. I think they’ve done everything they can as an organization to put that together and I think pressure is a great thing if you use it in the right way.”
- It’s good reading Rick Nash will embrace the pressure. Now lets see him perform under it. One thing he won’t have to worry about is being top dog in New York, instead joining a team that has other superstars and key contributors. Could take a bit of that pressure off knowing he’ll have help.
One area the Rangers will have to address is their penalty kill, which Lozo indicates took a hit with Brandon Dubinksy and others leaving town.
The big question for the Rangers entering camp will be which forwards will be used on the penalty kill. Dubinsky, Fedotenko, Anisimov and Prust were four of the seven most frequently used forwards while the Rangers were shorthanded last season. Halpern has plenty of experience in this area, but Asham and Pyatt didn’t spend a single second killing penalties last season.
Nash averaged 39 seconds of shorthanded ice time per game with the Jackets last season, 10th-most on the club.
- The PK will certainly be an area that needs to be addressed, but the Rangers still have Callahan, Boyle, Hagelin and possibly Stepan (not ideal but can improve) to play important minutes. Newcomer Jeff Halpern would be another candidate and would be key with his faceoff abilities. I’d be on the lookout for Nash to get some PK time to add the threat of offense shorthanded, too.
Here’s video of EJ Hradek previewing the Rangers season…
To watch video at NHL.com, click here.