The New York Rangers were close, but no cigar in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. While they fielded one of the best teams in the NHL and head coach John Tortorella milked the most out of them, the squad eventually fell short because of a lack of scoring. The good news is that the Rangers made a huge splash in the offseason and that area should no longer be a concern.
The Rangers tried to sign former New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise after seeing firsthand what he can do in the Eastern Conference finals. After that didn’t work out, people making their NHL picks figured that the team would head into the 2012-13 campaign with virtually the same roster. But then management pulled a stunner by acquiring All-Star Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The best part might be that the Rangers got to keep a number of their young up-and-comers like Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider.
While Nash will clearly help the scoring department, the depth on the team should be much stronger as well with the development of Stepan, Kreider and Brian Boyle. Before, those players were asked to do more than they could. Now that they have been pushed down the depth chart, they should have less pressure to contribute.
In particular, bigger things will be expected of Boyle, who could be up for a breakout season. He notched 21 goals in the 2010-11 campaign but then dipped to just 11 goals last season. Playing on the third line, he should be able to take advantage of better matchups and get back up to the 20-goal mark – if not better.
Overall, the Rangers have done a great job retooling in the offseason and the ripple effect of adding Nash should help this team finally reach the Stanley Cup finals.