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Rangers Backers Could Be Left Feeling Blue in 2016-17

The times of this New York Rangers being a dominant force at the hotly contested Metropolitan Division are likely bound for a brief hiatus. Heck, the Rangers’ times as the kings of NYC hockey are probably over. Age and a lack of wiggle room under the cap have been at the forefront of a transitional period for the Blueshirts which may possibly cause the 2016-17 season to become one of disappointment.
Henrik Lundqvist, the basis of this franchise along with the goaltender laureate of many a season in Manhattan, is aging and regressing. He is coming off a season in which he published a 2.48 goals-against ordinary — the highest of his glorious career. Furthermore, those cap issues forced the team to let slick 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 brand new duds this year after being dealt with the Ottawa Senators for the oft-thrilling yet oft-infuriating Mika Zibanejad.
OK, the roster still showcases some superb 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 is just within their own branch!
Following is a look at where the Rangers stand so far as the futures board is worried.
Stanley Cup +2500
The Rangers got to the postseason by finishing third at the Metro with 101 points but were quickly dispatched by the Penguins in five games in the opening round. The penalty-killing unit, which really was the team’s Achilles heel this past year, was ridiculous at best in the show, murdering only 61.9 percent of their penalties.
You play hockey like that, you become removed in five games. What have they done to address those special teams needs? Well, not a lot. At +2500 at online publication BetOnline, the purchase price will fetch some action from diehards, but this bet is a stay-away at this point. Perhaps King Henrik regains a bit of the great form and maybe the group makes some motions prior to 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 contemplating the teams above them and around them in the current NHL climate, they’ll 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 price is currently not long enough to warrant 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 the insanely deep Central. The aforementioned Pens, Caps and Islands will be fighting for the branch glory while teams such as the Philadelphia Flyers will be nipping at their heels and teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets are in line to surprise.
Season Factors OVER/UNDER 95.5
OK. So this one might not be too from the realm of possibility. The Blueshirts finished with 101 points and have eclipsed the 95.5 barrier in each year since 2011-12, save to the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
A high-90s total does not mean you’re winning the division; it more so means you’re in a dogfight to sneak in the postseason, which is where the Rangers could be this season. If you think NYR is postseason-bound, this can be possibly your safest bet about the futures board.

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