Although they’ve taken us on a wild ride the last several seasons, the 2015-16 version of the New York Rangers is the best we’ve seen.
If you don’t think so, look no further than their nine playoff appearances over the last 10 years. 10 Stanley Cup Playoff series have been won by the Blueshirts. There have been three Eastern Conference Finals, and one enthusiastic Eastern Conference Championship and Presidents’ Trophy season (2014).
Only one thing is missing. We all know what it is.
These Rangers might possess the highest level of championship quality of any team who hasn’t won a championship. We’ve seen it time and again. These guys never give up, nor do they ever feel they’re not worthy.
In 2014 they responded to a 3-1 series deficit against two of the greatest active NHL players (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin) and the Pittsburgh Penguins by reeling off three straight wins. Last spring, they did it again against a very rugged Washington Capitals team.
The core of this team – the guys with names of Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, and Henrik Lundqvist – are fully equipped with the championship-like fiber a Stanley Cup championship team needs to show off every spring.
Despite these incredible characteristics, this franchise has painfully come up short the last several seasons – 2014 and 2015 exemplifying the most tortured campaigns for fans.
Coming into a challenging offseason, all of Rangerstown had one eye closed. Their anxiety about what Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton would do with such a tight salary cap kept them up at nights.
A few moves and 13 games later, this organization has never been healthier.
Could it be true though, that this version of the Blueshirts is the best we’ve seen since the 1990s? Have they finally hit that very special season in which a Stanley Cup Championship is in their future?
Here are several reasons why the 2015-16 version of the New York Rangers is the best we’ve seen in a long time: