Well, it’s been a few months since we’ve talked a lot about it but here we are – the Rangers training camp is officially opening up this week and the 2022-23 season is about to get underway. With the success the Blueshirts had last season, there’s more aspirations and outright expectations sitting on the Rangers as they hit the ice ready to chase after Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Talk about pressure on second year head coach Gerard Gallant. Last year the Rangers finished up 52-24-6 for the second spot in the Metro Division and fought their way to Game Six of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Anything less than that this year and the season will be considered a failure. Success brings its own pressures and expectations but rest easy Rangers fans, your Blueshirts are again favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the finals this seasons. Rangers fans now know what’s coming and GM Chris Drury and Gallant have been building a winning organization this off-season to hopefully pick right up where they left off last year.
Goalie Igor Shesterkin will no doubt serve as the central point for the Rangers this year and rightly so. The Vezina Trophy winner had a fantastic season with a 36-13-4 record with a low 2.07 GAA and a fantastic .935 SV average last year. There is no shortage of great goaltender talent in the NHL this year but Shesterkin looks to anchor the Rangers defense and possibly earn a back-to-back Vezina Trophy which hasn’t been done since Martin Brodeur did so in 2007-2008.
Upcoming Rangers Roster
The Rangers have a cornucopia of young talent and young players such as Alex Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko will have a chance to solidify their top spots in the Rangers offense. The Rangers also made an interesting trade this summer and obtained center Vincent Trocheck from the Carolina Hurricanes and looks to be paired up with winger Artemi Panarin. Additionally, forward Sammy Blais looks to make a statement early on in training camp after coming off a season-ending ACL injury last year.
Defensively, new Rangers captain Jacob Trouba looks to anchor the blue line with help from a youth movement in the form of Braden Schneider and K’Andre Miller. The Rangers also signed backup goalies Jaroslav Halak and Louis Domingue to help give Shesterkin a break and keep him fresh for the long NHL season that can stretch into June.
GM Chris Drury and head coach Gerard Gallant both seem to be guiding the Rangers in the right direction and with the season opening up on October 7th, this year looks to be an exciting year for the Blueshirts. If key players can stay healthy and the younger Rangers step up, this team could and in fact should be in line to compete with the Carolina Hurricanes for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division and go far in the playoffs.
Having arguably the best goalie in the NHL and the addition of a solid center in Vincent Trocheck, combined with putting the “C” on Jacob Trouba’s sweater will only help create a solid nightly lineup for the Rangers. The Rangers have also cleared up the Nils Lundkvist trade situation and put themselves into a win-win category by picking up an additional first round draft pick in the near future along with a third or fourth round choice depending on how well Lundkvist does in Dallas. The Rangers look to be the strongest NHL team in the New York metro area this season and a good bet to make it to the Stanley Cup finals.