Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"I've got to admit its getting better ..."

It is hard for a Ranger's fan to be optimistic. No reason to explain why, if you are reading this in August you already know. However, if you are objective, you have to admit this year is going to be better than last.

First, there are a few major positive subtractions from the 2010-2011 opening roster: Drury, Frolov and Rozsival. Second, there are a few major positive additions: Richards, Wolski, Rupp and Erixon. Yes, there are other changes too, but these seven are the most significant.

Richards improves the power play immediately. He is a major improvement from Drury. Wolski was very quietly the best +/- of any Ranger forward and a huge step up from Frolov. Rozsival was painful to watch - Erixon will be a joy. We mourn the loss of Boogaard and his quality penalty minutes. Rupp will take those penalty minutes and chip in ten goals.

Goals gained? Richards over Drury - 20-25. Wolski over Frolov - even. Rupp over Boogaard - 10. Gabby, with a real center - 10. And, nothing will be lost on defense.

Further analysis? Rupp will improve the 3rd and 4th lines as Prust and Avery will not have to be the only bad guys. Prust and Avery can play hockey and finally will be allowed to do that. Richards will make the first line and the power play much better. Now we have a first unit and a second unit. And, the Callahan-Anisimov-Dubinsky line will no longer face the best defensive line. Wolski might just get 20 goals (even 25) if he is on the first line. Gabby will be back at 30+ goals. The CAD line could even improve from 65 to 85 goals.

If this is right, and the Rangers score 40-60 more goals, while staying solid on defense, the Rangers will be in a top four team and part of the Stanley Cup conversation at year's end. However, I am not willing to go that far because Washington and Philly have improved in goal, the Devils will be back, and Pittsburgh will be healthy. So, we are not the only team that has improved in the Atlantic.

Prediction? We are not going to be a fun team to play against:

  • 2009-2010: 38-33-11     87 - 9th      222 GF 218 GA +4
  • 2010-2011: 44-33-5     93 - 8th      233 GF 198 GA +35
  • 2011-2012: 49-26-7    105 pts - 4th    263 GF 203 GA +60

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  • jb said...

    I'll drink to that prediction. Love to see the boys in Blue climb the charts to 4th. And if they don't I'll probably be hoisting a few to drown the sorrows of another mediocre year.

    I think for Torts it's his year to put up some good numbers or get the hell out of town. The team has had 3 years of his Kool-Aid. It works now or never.

    I would like to see a "Rumble Line" on the ice sometime when things get chippie: Rupp, Prust, and Avery. Pick your poison.

  • Section 335 said...

    This is Section 335, and Mike is nice enough to let me put in a couple of posts a year. My predictions for the past two years were exactly correct on the point totals (I mean exactly) and really close on standings (I said no playoffs (correct) and 7th, not 8th.)

    Mike has not chimed in yet, but I am sure he is as concerned as I am that Torts will: (i) play around with lines when they should be left alone to develop chemistry (ii) not give Sean a fair shot at either the first line or playing time and (iii) ride the Prince too hard so that he is not rested come playoffs.

    This team is able to play with the big boys, but that does not mean that the Coach will let them. I agree with jb that this is Torts' year to put up or go.

  • jb said...

    Sec 335,

    Looks like Sid excused himself from the discussion, a bad case of potty mouth. Anyway, yes you have been very good the last two years predicting the Rangers point totals.

    For the record, here is your last season prediciton (2010-11), made last October:

    The loss of Vinny for the season is likely, and significant. We lose his 20 goals, 38 assists and 20 minutes a game of ice time. We also lose a first line center. Assuming there is no big trade coming, we should replace 50-75% of his output, but that means adding only 10-12 goals, not 20, and one or two more wins, not four. So the revised pre-season projection:

    This year 42-31-9 93 pts - 7th

    The Rangers finished 2010-11 at 44-33-5 for 93 points and 8th place.

    So you were exactly correct on the points total, not too shabby. A single key injury can really screw up a season, before Prospal went down you were thinking they might go 45-26-11, 101 pts for 4th. Any worries about injuries this year?

    I couldn't remember where the link was for your 2009-10 prediction, but that was right on too.

    Is Eddie Giacomin giving you tips on the LIRR?

    I'll finish by adding my standard disclaimer regarding the Rangers prospects for the coming season: "Hope springs eternal with the Rangers, but pessimism goes to the bone."

  • Section 335 said...

    Funny, you bring back some fond memories. I did ride the LIRR back from games with Eddie Giacamin and the boys all the way to Long Beach.

    Do I worry about injuries - of course. Remember Nilsson's ankle and Potvin? The Cup in '79 was ours till that happened. One need only look at the Penguins last year and you can see how key injuries can kill a team. So yes, if we lose two of our top five forwards or two of our top four defense or the Prince, we most likely are on the outside looking in.

    On the other hand, if we are not too badly beaten up, while Pittsburgh, Washington and Vancouver are each clearly more talented than we are, we are good enough to take just about anyone else to six or seven games in a head-to-head series. And, if you can do that, then anything can happen.