For the past 19 years (12 with The Hockey News), Dobber has looked at every team from a fantasy hockey perspective and rated them.
The 19th Annual Review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer/fall. This is not a review of likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in fantasy hockey both for the upcoming season and for the foreseeable future. Offensively, will the team perform well? Are there many depth options worth owning in goalkeeper leagues? What about the next two or three years? These questions are what I take into consideration when looking at the depth chart and the player’s potential on that depth chart.
Faded away – Ryan Strome, Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, Patrik Nemeth, Justin Braun, Alexandar Georgiev
Incoming – Vincent Trocheck, Ryan Carpenter, Jaroslav Halak, Louis Domingue
Impact of changes – When Rangers traded for Andrew Copp at the trade deadline last season, he immediately seemed like a good fit for the team. Unfortunately for Rangers fans, Copp opted to test the free agent market and signed a long-term deal with Detroit, so it’s a tough loss. Worse still, Ryan Strome also decided to leave New York, so there was work to be done.
Rangers landed a very solid cross in Vincent Trocheck who should fit in very well in their role as a second-row centre. Trocheck plays a solid two-way game that should fit perfectly into the Rangers system, a system that allowed the second-to-last number of goals last year. He’s also from Carolina, who plays a pretty similar brand of hockey, so should be a good addition by the Rangers front office. In goal, the team will continue to rely heavily on Igor Shesterkin, but the team have replaced Alexandar Georgiev with veteran goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak. Halak has been a useful substitute for many years now, but last year in Vancouver wasn’t particularly good for him. That being said, he now has a much stronger team ahead of him and if he can just hold steady, he should be a solid replacement for Georgiev.
Ready for full time – It’s no surprise here, as Vitali Kravtsov is the star of the show in terms of the prospects ahead for Rangers. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Kravtsov’s messy relationship with Rangers and the team’s management has seen its fair share of drama over the past two seasons. He declined to report to Hartford (AHL affiliate New York) after not making the team last season, opting to return to Russia and play in the KHL. Somewhat surprisingly, Kravtsov and Rangers have agreed to a one-year deal for the upcoming season. The contract is also a one-sided deal, so it looks like Kravtsov is going to do well with his chance to perform on Broadway this year. He has an elite talent and he is still only 22 years old.
Aside from Kravtsov, there are no looming prospects who should earn a roster spot out of training camp, and that should come as no surprise as New York enters its window to be a powerhouse in the league for the next handful of seasons. There is always the possibility of guys being called up due to injury as Rangers have some great plays if that situation arises. Specifically in defense, Nils Lundkvist and Zac Jones are two names to watch. On weaker teams, these guys would likely compete for a spot on an NHL roster.
Fantastic outlook – As previously stated, New York enters their window where they should be a powerhouse for the next few seasons. They have elite players in every position, but they’re also a bit of an enigma. Offensively speaking, they were average at best last season. There should be room for improvement, but it’s quite shocking how unbalanced the scoreline was in the team last year. Outside of Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox, there wasn’t much offense to speak of. The aforementioned players have all accumulated 70 or more points. Next closest was Strome with 55 and he’s now in Anaheim.
It’s so tempting to want to try your luck against guys like Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil, especially after their run in the playoffs. Maybe with the arrival of Kravtsov, there will be a little more offense injected into the middle six of the lineup. There is hidden value for people who are in the banger leagues. Defenseman K’Andre Miller is a good sneaky option on the blue line if you need peripherals. And of course, that goes without saying, but Shesterkin should continue to be the first option when it comes to goalies. Barring an injury, he should be a Vézina-level goaltender for the next few years.
Fantasy level: B+ (last year it was A-)