October 31, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; The New York Rangers bench during the third period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. New York defeated Seattle 3-1. Mandatory credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Rangers are having a great season with 42 points in 30 games so far. They are on track to score 114 which will be the highest total score in franchise history.
that it not One of my bold predictions.
While I think the team will finish over 100 points for the first time since the 2016-2017 season (102), it will be an unlikely round for the Stanley Cup Finals that will top 2022 on Broadway.
Let’s dive into five bold blue shirt predictions for the new year.
Adam Fox will win his second Norris Cup in a row
To start, I think Adam Fox will be the first defender to win back-to-back Norris Cups since Niklas Liedstrom won three in a row with the Detroit Red Wings from 2005/06 to 2007/08.
Fox, 23, of Jericho, New York, tied with Victor Hedman of Tampa in his men’s defense with 31 points. While last season, it was considered a bit unknown, that is not the case anymore.
Although Fox isn’t as flashy as some of the other defenders, or as physically imposing as the others, his ability to perform the right play has always set him apart. It’s those millions of little things he’s doing in a game that has the entire NHL at notice and why he’s winning another Norris title.
Artemi Panarin will break 100 points
Rangers’ best offensive weapon has gotten off to a slow start this season, but he’s raised his scoring tempo dramatically.
In his first season with Rangers (2019-20), Panarin had easily broken the 100-point mark but the pandemic shortened the year. He finished with 95 and had no chance last year with only 56 games. However, with 33 points in 30 games, he’s on course for just 90 this season.
My bold expectation is that Breadman will pick up on his play more after the break. This time around, Artemi won’t be denied 100 points for the first time in his career.
Chris Kreider won’t go away
Chris Kreider’s importance to this team cannot be underestimated. He is considered one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and the best forward player in the league. However, in his 10-year career, he scored no more than 28 goals. He has achieved this mark twice, once in 2016/17 and 2018/19.
Kreider, 30, has always been a sweaty goalscorer, but his tendency to go through long dry spells without a goal has become a yearly pass. He certainly has a good cushion with 18 goals in 30 games, but all too often we’ve seen his hot starts slip away.
It won’t happen this season.
With excellent power play, Kreider will not only break the 30-goal mark for the first time, but also hit 40.
Gerard Gallant will win the Jack Adams Prize
While Carolina’s Rod Brende Amour appears to be the media darling of Coach of the Year, what Gerard Gallant will do in his first season in New York cannot be ignored.
He has Rangers among the best teams in the league by 0.700 percentage points. This ties in with the third best in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Galant last trained in the NHL during the 2019-20 season, but the 58-year-old bench coach doesn’t seem to miss a thing. If Rangers continue like this, voters will be pressured hard not to pick him.
Since its inception, no New York Rangers coach has won a Jack Adams Award. This ends in 2022.
New York Rangers reach Stanley Cup Final
In 2018, the New York Rangers sent a letter to fans announcing the rebuilding. Many agonizing exchanges between fan favorites and the ultimate possession of legendary goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist were endured.
Now out of the ashes, a perennial Stanley Cup contender will rise. Led by stars like Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and another great goalkeeper in the making named Igor Shesterkin, New York will appear improbably in the cup final.
Unfortunately, they will likely face a seasoned team that has been stacked up to win for years. I would anticipate some kind of twist of fate, Galant would lose to the club that brought him to the Stanley Cup Final in the 2017/18 season.
Although they will fall short, it will be the first of many long qualifying rounds with at least one championship in the near future.
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