New York Rangers 2021 Season Preview
(Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports)

I will be honest with you, I don’t have high hopes for Alexis Lafreniere. He is a good hockey player. You have to be good at hockey to play in the QMJHL but I think he’s a little overhyped and he’ll turn out like…a certain 2019 first overall pick…who shall remain nameless. Please give me one first overall pick Post-McDavid era that has lived up to their hype. 

The New York Rangers lost in the qualifying round of the playoffs to the Carolina Hurricanes. However, they have a young team with a lot of potential on the horizon. 

Key Additions: Jack Johnson (Pittsburgh Penguins) 

Jack Johnson came from the Pittsburgh Penguins in a free agency agreement. Now, to call him a “key addition” is a little bit of a stretch. Johnson has been on the tail end of his career for at least a couple of seasons. However, having a more experienced player come to this team that’s full of young guys with a fraction of the knowledge and experience, I think, will benefit them more than hurt them in the long run. 

Losses: Henrik Lundqvist (Washington Capitals) 

Henrick and the Rangers decided a few months ago that it was time he departs from the team. He was with them for 10 seasons and was an icon in not only the Rangers community but the hockey community in general. The initial plan was that he would co-start with Capitals goalie, Ilya Samsonov, and play a mentor role for the young tendie. However, due to a newly diagnosed heart condition, he will not be playing in Washington either. I would guess he will still maintain a mentor role minus the skates and physical exertion. 

Forward Line Predictions: 
Chris Kreider Mika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich
Artemi PanarinRyan StromeKappo Kakko
Alexis Lafreniere Filip ChytilJulian Gauthier
Philip De GiuseppeBrett HowdenBrenden Lemieux
Defensive Pairing Predictions: 
Ryan LindgrenAdam Fox
Tony Deangelo Jacob Trouba
Jack JohnsonBrendan Smith 
In the net: 

Alexander Georgiev has not been in the National Hockey League for very long, but boy does he have the confidence to fool anyone. Igor Shestyorkin has also earned a considerable amount of respect in the minors that has since carried into the NHL. He and Georgiev will more than likely split starts throughout the season if not into the following season as well.  

The Verdict: 

For the New York Rangers to make the playoffs this year, the stars are going to have to be perfectly aligned. Artemi Panarin is going to have to have another flawless season. Kappo Kakko is going to have to avoid the sophomore season slump. Alexis Lafreniere has no room for error. In the shortened season, I just don’t think the playoffs are possible in the same division as breakout teams like the Flyers and the Islanders. 

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