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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 for a short hiatus. Heck, the Rangers’ times as the kings of NYC hockey are likely over. Age and a deficiency of wiggle room under the cap have been in the forefront of a transitional stage for the Blueshirts which may possibly cause the 2016-17 year to be one of disappointment.
Henrik Lundqvist, the basis of this franchise and the goaltender laureate of many a year in Manhattan, is aging and regressing. He is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.48 goals-against ordinary — the greatest of his glorious career. Furthermore, those cap issues forced the group to allow glossy defenseman and power-play mainstay Keith Yandle walk, er, skate.
The power play took a double strike as last year’s top goal scorer, Derick Brassard, will also don new duds this year after being dealt with the Ottawa Senators for its oft-thrilling yet oft-infuriating Mika Zibanejad.
OK, the roster nevertheless showcases some excellent talent including Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider, but it’s 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 inside their own division!
Here’s 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 at the Metro with 101 points but were immediately dispatched by the Penguins in five games in the opening round. The penalty-killing unit, that really was the group’s Achilles heel last year, was ridiculous at best from the series, killing just 61.9 percent of the penalties.
You play baseball like this, you become eliminated in five games. What have they done to address those teams that were special needs? Well, not a lot. At +2500 at online book BetOnline, the price will bring some action from diehards, but this bet is a stay-away at this point. Maybe King Henrik regains a bit of the great form and maybe the team makes some moves ahead of the deadline, but until then, do not 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 in the present NHL climate, they’ll have a difficult time winning the East this year.
The Penguins will be back and firing on all cylinders as well as the Caps will be hungry to avenge a disappointing playoff run this past year, just to name a few, let alone bring up the Atlantic Division.
The +1200 price is currently not long enough to warrant a wager on the Rangers within this spot.
Metropolitan Division +600
At this price? No thank you.
The Metropolitan is turning into a poor man’s version of the deep Central. The aforementioned Pens, Caps and Islands will be fighting for the division glory while teams like the Philadelphia Flyers will be nipping at their heels and groups like the Columbus Blue Jackets are in line to surprise.
Season Points OVER/UNDER 95.5
OK. So this one may not be too out of the realm of possibility. The Blueshirts finished with 101 points and have eclipsed 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 division; it means you’re in a dogfight to sneak into the postseason, which is where the Rangers could be this season. If you believe NYR is postseason-bound, this is possibly your safest bet about the futures .

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