If the New York Mets were constructed as the current Rangers hockey club, exactly how would the field and lineup be constructed?

Robby Sabo

Who’s on first? What’s on second? Is Henrik Lundqvist on third?

You’ve already seen the title. You know what this is—sort of. What if the New York Mets were forced to be constructed as New York Rangers players?

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Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have ventured into fantasyland.

Why, is the question? Check out the best video-hype account for both the Rangers and Mets, metrangerfan711 over on YouTube. Through the years, this individual has put together the very best Rangers and Mets hype videos.

The New York Rangers run to the Cup in 2014:

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The New York Mets World Series appearance in 2015, the very same year Elite Sports NY was born:

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(The “Right Now” Van Halen job remains, to this very day, the greatest Mets hype video of all-time.)

The chills run deep.

This one actively coming together to get metrangerfan711 back doing his thing. That’s what’s most important. Secondarily, sure, while we pride ourselves on our in-depth film breakdowns while getting into the weeds of the actual sport few actually do these days, the casual, fantastical fan deserves a pop here and there.

Therefore, let’s travel deep within fantasy land and construct the best Metropolitans team with the current crop of youthful Blueshirts.

Catcher: Henrik Lundqvist (R)

Come on, folks. Where else would Henrik Lundqvist land?

As the goaltender, the staple of a franchise for a decade-and-a-half, Hank is the natural fit at catcher. He’s the leader, the captain of the baseball club, and the man who runs the entire pitching staff.

His puck-stopping abilities would translate in a natural-style as the baseball backstop.

First Base: Kevin Hayes (L)

The lefty Kevin Hayes gets the nod at first base.

In thinking Keith Hernandez, Hayes fits the mold. He can play that silky-smooth defensive first base spot while acting as the line-drive hitter the lineup requires.

Hayes’s two-way play on the ice is up for debate. Perhaps he’s a bit overrated on the defensive side of things, but as an all-around hockey player, his stature cannot be disputed.

Second Base: Neal Pionk (R)

The greatest problem in constructing a team like this is finding enough right-handed players to fill out the roster. Most are lefty, meaning finding righties to man down the required infield spots are tough.

Doesn’t Neal Pionk just feel like that scrappy second-base type?

Pionk’s place in the lineup would be that of the scrappy top-of-the-order hitter who walks a lot and gets on base, setting the table for the rest.

New York Rangers

Shortstop: Mika Zibanejad (R)

One of the studs of the club would be Mika Zibanejad, the team’s shortstop.

How could the right-handed Zibanejad not take home one of the most prestigious spots on the team?

At the plate, Zibanejad might be the best pure hitter on the squad. He’d hit for a little pop, perhaps 20-25 moonshots a season, but the area he excels would be his all-around hitting prowess and on-base percentage.

Third Base: Jesper Fast (R)

Speaking of scrappy, here comes Jesper Fast.

As a sure-handed defensive-first third baseman, nothing gets by this dude at the hot corner. He’s quiet. He’s unassuming. He’s steady.

Jesper Fast always plays 162 games and never says the wrong thing in the clubhouse. His plate presence isn’t as great as the rest of the starters, but his name at the bottom of the order would remind many of that pesky 1986 bottom-of-the-order lineup.

2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Right Field: Chris Kreider (L)

The best power-hitter on the team resides in right field. It’s the perfect position for the likes of Chris Kreider.

The negative is that his all-world speed is lost a little in right field. Still, his natural attributes make it possible to play centerfield as well, when necessary and called upon.

At the plate, he’s a flat-out beast. He’d smash over 40 home runs a season with a solid .275 average.

Center Field: Mats Zuccarello (L)

We so wanted to put Mats Zuccarello at shortstop. He’s that Wilmer Flores-type at the moment. He has no idea what the future holds and, perhaps, could break down on the field in knowing the stadium is buzzing about his Milwaukee Brewers future.

But alas, the Norwegian is a lefty and cannot play short.

Zuc will serve as the lead-off man as an excellent defensive centerfielder, picking up assists with a strong arm at every turn.

New York Mets

Left Field: Jimmy Vesey (L)

Jimmy Vesey finds himself a little lost in the shuffle. He’s that final starting spot who’s always battling to keep his job in left field.

There would be, no doubt, a platoon happening here between him and Vladislav Namestnikov.

Pitcher: Filip Chytil (L)

Taking the ball from rookie manager David Quinn would be young Filip Chytil.

Coming from overseas, the spin Chytil puts on his pitches is other-worldly. With a max velocity of 98 m.p.h., that, in combination with his nasty offspeed stuff would have him in the running for NL Cy Young season-after-season.

The youth doesn’t scare us. He’s a prodigy who has the best veteran catcher in the game in full-support mode.

The Lineup

  1. Mats Zuccarello (L)
  2. Neal Pionk (R)
  3. Chris Kreider (L)
  4. Henrik Lundqvist (R)
  5. Kevin Hayes (L)
  6. Mika Zibanejad (R)
  7. Jimmy Vesey (L)
  8. Jesper Fast (R)
  9. Filip Chytil (L)

A case can be made that Henrik Lundqvist should hit sixth or seventh, but he has just enough left in the tank to take on a Mike Piazza-type middle-of-the-order role.

The strength of the lineup remains in the middle. Mika Zibanejad may represent the best pure hitter of the crew, but he bats sixth for balance-sake.

Zuccarello and Pionk setting the table for the Aaron Judge-like Kreider is the perfect one-two-three formula.

New York Rangers Mets
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Extras

  • Fourth Outfielder: Vladislav Namestnikov (L)
  • Infield Utility Man: Tony DeAngelo (R)
  • Backup First Baseman: Marc Staal (L)
  • Backup Catcher: Alexandar Georgiev (R)
  • Fifth Outfielder: Fredrik Claesson (L)
  • No. 2 Starter: Pavel Buchnnevich (L)
  • No. 3 Starter: Kevin Shattenkirk (R)
  • No. 4 Starter: Lias Andersson (L)
  • No. 5 Starter: Ryan Strome (R)
  • Closer: Brett Howden (L)
  • Setup Man: Brady Skjei (L)
  • Setup Man: Adam McQuaid (R)
  • Middle Relief: Brendan Smith (L)
  • Middle Relief: Cody McLeod (L)
  • Long Relief: Boo Nieves (L)

The top snub of the nine starters comes in the form of Pavel Buchnevich. But hey, that second starting pitching role is big-time.

What hurts is the lefty dominance in the bullpen. There’s not much that can be done in terms of balancing it out.

Young Brett Howden possesses the poise and moxie necessary to act as that dominant shutdown closer. Adam McQuaid will firmly believe he’s Charlie Sheen, Wild Thing, from Major League.

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