There has to be life after Henrik Lundqvist, right? The New York Rangers seem to be all set for that era when the time comes.
Often, you hear of the New York Rangers front office, coaching staff, media and fans voicing their concerns over the New York Rangers as of now.
Will Henrik Lundqvist ever win a Stanley Cup? Will the Rangers make the playoffs this year? When this year will Alain Vigneault get canned?
What does the future hold, they all inquire. But what does the future really hold?
Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller are all under 25 years old. The Rangers have a loaded defensive system in Hartford with Neal Pionk, Anthony DeAngelo, Brandon Crawley, and others. Additionally, with Filip Chytil and Vinni Lettieri dominating in Hartford and Lias Andersson beginning to shine in Frolunda, the Rangers’ forwards corps is drastically improving as well. Coupled with this group of talented skaters is Russian star goaltender Igor Shestyorkin, a 21-year-old phenom who is currently dominating the KHL.
Right now, the Rangers are performing well while deploying players such as Nick Holden, Steven Kampfer, Marc Staal and Paul Carey. While their current position in the Metropolitan, at first glance, is horrific, they are actually only four points out of first place.
If the coaching staff intelligently deployed players, it is safe to say the Rangers would be performing at the level of a true contender at this moment in time. But, ifs do not correlate to greatness: only results do.
By the 2019-20 season, all of these talented prospects should be playing as New York Rangers in the NHL. Even next year, all of these prospects, aside from Shestyorkin, can compete and make the roster.
This article is not meant to break down advanced statistics, criticize coaching or rate Rangers players. It is meant to simply serve as a reminder that when Henrik Lundqvist’s contract is up after the 2019-20 season, the Rangers will continue to be a formidable force in the NHL for years to come.
Filip Chytil and Igor Shestyorkin, I can safely assume, will be bonafide stars at the NHL level. Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich are proving their worth as top-line options every game they play together so far. Vinni Lettieri and Lias Andersson look to be safe top-six guarantees. Neil Pionk looks to be capable of taking a position as a future top-four defenseman.
Additionally, all of the other aforementioned skaters look like worthy risks to take. Their skills as offensive defensemen are jaw-dropping.
If the Rangers keep their younger talent in place and hold on to their current stars, such as Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello, the Rangers will be a very good team in the years to come. Despite my issues with long-term predictions, I think this notion is practically inevitable.
Let’s hope the New York Rangers win a cup for Henrik Lundqvist, as he deserves one more than any other player in the NHL. But do not be alarmed, the future, barring any major setbacks, is bright as well.