Michael Grabner New York Rangers
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have made a lot of changes this offseason, but one thing remaining constant will be right winger Michael Grabner.

Michael Grabner signed a two-year contract with the New York Rangers in July 2016. He was brought to the team for his strong penalty killing and fast skating skills.

Fortunately, he brought some much-needed goal scoring to the team last season as well.

Grabner’s first season with the Rangers was a productive one. The right-winger scored 27 goals with 13 assists for 40 points, a plus-22 and averaged 14.01 time on ice. Yet his point totals were not what stands out most on the season. Grabner’s speed was the highlight of the year.

Grabner’s speed was the highlight of the year.

Grabner’s speed created chaos on the ice for the opposing teams. Whenever Grabner was on the ice in penalty killing situations, his speed in intercepting passes, beating the other players to the pucks was energizing. Regardless of who he was on the ice with, the Rangers would wind up with a scoring chance while on the penalty kill. Most times he was paired with Jesper Fast or former Ranger Oscar Lindberg. Grabner was signed to help with a struggling penalty kill situation and he excelled at that.

Early on last year, Grabner scoring touch became evident.

The most goals he has scored in the NHL was 34 in 2010-11, his rookie season in the NHL when he played for the New York Islanders. It became evident that Grabner was going to have another season equivalent to his 2010 season. It seemed Grabner had a scoring chance whenever he was on the ice, no matter what line he was skating with.

This was why he was able to skate on any line the Rangers needed him to play on and still be productive. The 29-year-old became the go to guy on a team where he was supposed to excel on the fourth line.

As Grabner enters year two of his contract, there aren’t many questions left to be answered. You know what you get with him, but that doesn’t mean questions still won’t be asked.

With the loss of Oscar Lindberg to the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the injury to Jesper Fast which will keep him sidelined until at least late November, who will Alain Vigneault put Grabner with to utilize his skills as was done the last season?

I do not hope on the “chemistry” bandwagon as much as other people do. My belief is that if you an NHL player you should, for the most part, be able to play with anyone on the team to be productive. With that said, Grabner does need to be a line with players that can keep up with his speed.

It becomes a fine line because the coaching staff doesn’t want to break up other lines that worked well together last year just to accommodate Grabner’s speed. When this season starts, I would think Grabner would be on the wing with newly acquired David Desharnais at center. One of the questions still left unanswered currently, is who will fill in for Fast on the fourth line until he returns from his off season surgery?

Grabner has had a busy summer and, of course, is in great shape as he prepares for training camp.

Michael Grabner has had a busy summer. He has been posting pictures throughout the summer on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Here he is working out doing box jumps early in July:

Grabner’s conditioning and training is amazing. He seems to always be doing some kind of conditioning or cardio workout every day. His work ethic is what makes Grabner the player that he is: a dedicated, hard working player.

Now that his teammates and fans alike know who he is, the expectations for him will be even higher this season. The Rangers are going to need every bit of his strength, speed and experience in order to have another winning season.

Grabner is up to the challenge and I would anticipate a great season ahead.

A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at Nyrfc12@gmail.com