Tony DeAngelo
ESNY Graphic

The New York Rangers are primed to have a bounce-back season and to that two players need to raise their game to the next level. 

Dom Renna

If the New York Rangers are going to find success next season, they will need contributions up and down their still youthful lineup.

Growth from a handful of youngsters is paramount via the objective at hand. Filip Chytil, Brady Skjei, Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov are a few names, but it doesn’t stop there.

Yes, it is going to take a great deal of work for New York to become contenders next year. But for that to be a possibility, they will need for the likes of Lias Andersson and Tony DeAngelo to become consistent pieces of the everyday roster.

Andersson has the potential to fill a vital role if he finally takes the next step and lives up to the potential that surrounds his game.

Based on what we’ve seen from Andersson in Hartford and in international play, there are signs to his game that point to him becoming a legitimate player in the NHL. But with all of the good we’ve seen from him outside of an NHL arena, he’s still leaving us wanting more. He’s going to have to give more this year for multiple reasons.

This year, the Rangers don’t have the depth at center we’ve become accustomed to seeing. Ryan Strome filled in nicely last year. But that hole at center is back and bigger than ever. Should Andersson come in and live up to his potential, all the worry surrounding that position starts to lessen. If he comes in and shows more of the same, it adds fuel to the fire for Andersson’s critics.

Simply put, the Rangers need Andersson to be better than he was in his limited time last year. They need him to be the responsible two-way player they scouted. They need him to become someone who isn’t just a placeholder until an injured player returns. What he, and the Rangers, need is for him to quiet his critics (myself included).

As for DeAngelo, he had a much better second season on Broadway last year but still found himself fighting for ice time. With an already crowded blueline, DeAngelo upping his game this year can mean wonders for this Rangers group.

There aren’t many players out there who have the offensive pizzazz that DeAngelo possesses. He makes the difficult passes look easy and has a real future in the NHL if he can just stay out of trouble off the ice.

Now, even though those off-the-ice issues aren’t visible to the public, we know one thing, when DeAngelo is on the ice he has the potential to be special. To take the next step, and for the Rangers to be better all-around next year, they are going to need DeAngelo to tone it down and stick to his game. This way the Rangers can start to develop some continuity among their defensemen.

Should the Rangers get more from both Andersson and DeAngelo, two areas of need will be filled from youth within the organization. It saves them from using cap resources they don’t have to try and fill in those holes. Not to mention, it establishes some confidence in New York’s current farm system.

Next year won’t be easy right away, even with all of the sexy new additions general manager Jeff Gorton made. But if they are able to see the real Lias Andersson and consistent Tony DeAngelo, those additions will shine.

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Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.