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Rangers Backers Could Be Left Feeling Blue in 2016-17

The days of this New York Rangers being a dominant force at the hotly contested Metropolitan Division are likely bound to get a brief hiatus. Heck, the Rangers’ times as the kings of NYC hockey are probably over. Age and a deficiency of wiggle room under the cap have been in the forefront of a transitional period for the Blueshirts that could possibly cause the 2016-17 year to be one of disappointment.
Henrik Lundqvist, the cornerstone of the franchise and the goaltender laureate of many a year in Manhattan, is aging and regressing. He’s coming off a season where he posted a 2.48 goals-against ordinary — the highest of his magnificent career. What’s more, those cap issues forced the group to let slick defenseman and power-play mainstay Keith Yandle walk, er, skate.
The power play took a double hit as last season’s top goal scorer, Derick Brassard, will also don new duds this season after being dealt to the Ottawa Senators for its oft-thrilling yet oft-infuriating Mika Zibanejad.
OK, the roster nevertheless showcases some excellent talent such as Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider, but it is not enough to convince me that this team can hang with the likes of the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders or Washington Capitals — and that’s just within their own division!
Following is a look at where the Rangers stand so far as the futures is worried.
Stanley Cup +2500
The Rangers got to the postseason by finishing third in the Metro with 101 points but were quickly dispatched by the Penguins in five games in the opening round. The penalty-killing unit, that was the team’s Achilles heel this past year, was laughable at best in the series, murdering only 61.9 percent of their penalties.
You play baseball like this, you get eliminated in five matches. What have they done to address those special teams needs? Well, not a lot. At +2500 at online publication BetOnline, the price will fetch some actions from diehards, but this bet is a stay-away now. Maybe King Henrik regains a little the excellent form and possibly the team makes some motions prior to the deadline, but until then, don’t touch.
Eastern Conference +1200
The Rangers have just two conference championships in their history (1993-94, 2013-14) and considering the groups above them and around them at the current NHL climate, they will have a tough time winning the East this season.
The Penguins will be back and firing on all cylinders as well as the Caps will be hungry to avenge a disappointing playoff run last year, simply to mention a couple, let alone bring up the Atlantic Division.
The +1200 cost is currently long enough to justify a bet on the Rangers within this spot.
Metropolitan Division +600
At this cost? No thank you.
The Metropolitan is turning into a poor person’s version of this deep Central. The above Pens, Caps and Islands will be battling for the branch glory while teams like the Philadelphia Flyers will soon be nipping at their heels and groups such as the Columbus Blue Jackets are in line to surprise.
Season Factors OVER/UNDER 95.5
OK. So this one might not be too out of the realm of possibility. The Blueshirts finished with 101 points and also have resisted the 95.5 barrier in each season since 2011-12, save for the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
A high-90s total doesn’t mean that you’re winning the branch; it more so means you’re in a dogfight to sneak into the postseason, which is really where the Rangers could be this season. If you believe NYR is postseason-bound, this can be possibly your safest wager about the futures board.

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