06 Aug Offseason Fantasy Quick Hits: Metropolitan Division – New York Rangers
NEW YORK RANGERS
Got: Mika Zibanejad, Adam Clendening, Nick Holden, Michael Grabner, Nathan Gerbe, Josh Jooris, Brandon Pirri
Lost: Derick Brassard, Keith Yandle, Viktor Stalberg, Dominic Moore, Dan Boyle, Eric Staal
Adam Clendening has the offensive skill to be fantasy relevant, however his defensive play holds him back in fantasy hockey because his coach can never trust him, which leads to lower ice time. Fantasy hockey is all about opportunity, and if Clendening doesn’t get enough ice time he won’t produce to the point where he is relevant. The team did lose Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle this offseason, two defencemen who both had a good chunk of PP time over the past few years. If Clendening can manage to get some PP minutes there is a slight chance he can be relevant this upcoming season. I wouldn’t draft Clendening, but he’s a guy to throw on your watch list. At this point there’s no guarantee he even cracks the squad.
I also think this could be the year the Rangers take a bit of a step back as a team. Lundqvist is another year older, albeit still a premier goalie. I’m just not sure how much longer the team can rely on him to bail them out game in and game out.The loss of the two aforementioned puck moving defensemen this off season really hurts their ability to push the puck up the ice this upcoming year, IMO. I think Ryan McDonagh should now see upwards of 25 minutes every night, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he set new career highs. He is still tasked with shutting down opposing team’s top lines, however his spike in PP time should get him to around 40-45 points when its all said and done.
Guys like Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello should be expected to put up similar production to last year. Maybe Zucarello can top out at 65 points, but I’m still guessing he finishes closer to 60. I think the trade of Brassard increases Stepan’s role a bit, so I’ll up him to 60 points.
I think Chris Kreider has the potential to finally break out for 30 goals (and 100 PIMS) as he is entering his fourth full NHL year, a typical breakout year for many NHL players. He is a guy I will be targeting in drafts. I don’t see 30 goals and 60-65 points completely out of the question. With a little luck, skill, opportunity and a combination of everything going right, Kreider can get there.
Another guy I like is J.T. Miller. He is a former first round pick and broke out in a big way last year with 22 goals and 43 points. I think he can hit 25 goals and 50, or even 55 points if he manages to stick in the top six this year.
Mika Zibanejad and Derick Brassard wearing their former team’s jerseys
I like the Mika Zibanejad-Derick Brassard swap for both the Senators and the Rangers. The Rangers need to start to inject some more youth into their roster, while the Sens are trying (and i mean trying) to compete and win now. Brassard is in his prime years, while Zibanejad should be entering them. Brassard is the more talented player now, but he is a perennial 60 point guy. Zibby put up 51 points last year, and I’d expect either similar numbers or a modest bump to his total. I am not sure he will ever be a guy who puts up 70 or 80 points in this league, but I could see him replacing and maybe even slightly topping Brassard’s production pre-trade if everything goes right for him. He will certainly get an opportunity to play in the Ranger’s top six with Rick Nash, Kreider, and Zuccarello.
Lastly, I want to mention that I think Rick Nash is a good bounce back candidate from a disappointing season last year. Nash needs to stay healthy in order to bounce back, but if he can, there’s no reason he won’t put up 30 goals and 65 points. Similar to Joe Thornton last year, the disappointing season will cause his pre-draft ranking to probably be lower than it should be. But like Thornton, Nash has been a household name for a long time and fantasy GM’s aren’t dumb – you’ll likely have to reach 20-30 spots on his pre-draft ranking in order to get him and that’s up to you to determine if it’s a risk you’re willing to take. Managers who took Thornton as low as they did last year received huge dividends. He’s a guy that is showing up on every comeback players list, so he’s not some big secret you are gonna steal away at his ADP at the draft. I’m more inclined to stay away from Nash this year unless he falls in the draft (which he won’t) but that’s just me.
I don’t think there are any prospects in the Rangers system who will make a fantasy impact in 2016/2017. Maybe defenseman Brady Skjei, but I don’t think this is the year he will be fantasy relevant.
I doubt Oscar Lindberg provides us any relevance but he is an extreme longshot to post 50 points. Ditto for Jesper Fast.
Pavel Buchnevich is a top offensive prospect for the Rags but isn’t ready yet.
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Thanks for reading!!!