For most of the summer, I've felt real good about the Rangers chances of making a Cup run this season. But then I read this from Ryan Porth at Sportsnet and it sort of freaked me out…
"Outside of Nash, who can they count on to find the back of the net? Not Brad Richards, who is no longer a No. 1 centre. Not Ryan Callahan or Carl Hagelin (for the time being), who will likely miss the start of the season after off-season surgeries. Derek Stepan, the team’s leading point-getter in 2012-13, isn’t necessarily a goal-scorer.
If former first-round picks Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller don’t step up, the Rangers could starve for offence when the games matter most."
…i don't think Nash has a 40-goal season in him this year, but 35 is absolute doable. After that, I'm not sure who else the Rangers can truly count on to supply consistent goal scoring.
…we've all be fawning over Brassard this offseason, but the fact remains that he's never eclipsed 20 goals in any season during his career. And we're on pins and needles waiting for Stepan to be re-signed, but as Porth notes, he's never been known as a goal scorer as he's failed to score more than 21 goals in a season.
…Callahan and Hagelin's absence for the first month or so will obviously keep their goal totals down and even when they're back in the line-up there's no guarantee they'll immediately return to form. See Gaborik's return from shoulder surgery last season.
…and for those of you predicting a breakout season for Kreider, just remember he has a grand total of TWO career regular season goals. JT Miller, who will likely start the season in Hartford, equals Kreider's regular season goal total.
…that's right folks, after Nash, only two players on the current roster (Callahan & Richards) have reached 25 goals in a season. And as I mentioned above, it is very doubtful Callahan will reach that total this season. Ditto for Richards if he continues his downward spiral.
…sure, Vigneault is going to open up the offense this season, but if he doesn't have the players who can execute his new schemes, does it really matter?
…so I've got to ask, are you as concerned as I am about the Rangers scoring ability this season?