Fantasy Hockey preview: New York Rangers
Are you ready? We’re back to the 82-game regular-season format, which means more joy and also more pain. It’s a roller coaster of emotions every season, because there are always surprises, and the good ones can make us feel like geniuses while the bad ones feel like they are collapsing their stomachs in an empty pool.
But we’re all hungry for punishment, so you might as well stay as informed as possible to explain later why the gods of fantasy hockey hate you. Yes, they specifically hate you.
Here is your fantastic outlook for the 32 teams. The annual pool guide is available now, and also check out Matt Larkin’s top 250 players for the upcoming season.
Fantastic Outlook 2021-22: New York Rangers
Last season: The Rangers finished just four games over 0.500 and saw their point percentage drop to 0.536 from 0.564, failing to advance to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. It may have been disappointing, but it’s not uncommon for a young team to take a step back, and it seemed excusable given the difficult circumstances surrounding a season cut short by COVID, especially for rookie Alexis LafreniÃ¨re and their youngster. tandem of guards.
The team still managed to finish mid-peak in most major statistical categories, including a major improvement in AG / GP, and boasted three players who scored at least 20 goals, another excellent season for the team. Artemi Panarin and a winning season for Norris. by Adam Fox.
But the punch was how they responded – or the lack thereof – to the overthrow of Panarin by Tom Wilson and the subsequent fervor, and the added embarrassment of missing the playoffs forced an impatient James Dolan to take action, firing both his general manager and head coach shortly after the season. It set the stage for a busy but somewhat bizarre offseason for the Rangers, who may or may not be a better team now than they were at the end of last season.
Best option: Artemi Panarin, LW
Panarin has scored 473 points since entering the league, the fifth-highest total during that span. He’s one of the few wingers in the league that teams can really lean on, and any worries about his size and lack of physique are quickly erased when the puck is on his stick. He finished third with 1.38 points per game, behind only Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and did so with much inferior teammates – Colin Blackwell has become relevant to fantasy because of Panarin, and will certainly struggle to score at the same rate. Panarin, on the other hand, is expected to finish fifth in the THN Pool Guide standings with 103 points, and remains a fantastic elite option.
Hidden Gem: Kaapo Kakko, RW
Kakko made huge strides last season even though the raw stats didn’t quite show it. He finished with fewer goals, points and shots than his rookie season, but his over-under improved by 29 points and his possession numbers were very good; Kakko led all of the Rangers forwards with a percentage of 53.95 5v5 CF and 55.11 5v5 CF / 60. It was obvious that he had grown strong and gained a little more confidence, and it is very encouraging that the underlying measurements are really supporting the eye test. His career of 10.0 S% is still rather weak for someone who hangs around the net and is known to score goals, but it is a good sign that he has improved from 9.2 S% to 11.1 S%.
New head coach Gerard Gallant wants his teams to pick up the pace and be more aggressive, which should lead to more scoring chances. With Blackwell now with the Kraken, the place in front of Panarin’s wing has also opened up, and Kakko’s fantastic value could be greatly enhanced if he gets this role. Alexis LafreniÃ¨re is also expected to make huge strides in his second season, and as a former top pick he will likely get more attention in the fantastic draft, but that just means Kakko could get overlooked and pay big dividends. for those who use an end-of-turn choice. him.
Goalkeepers: Igor Shesterkin is named as a starter, but are we really sure? It was an impressive start to their career, but the sample size is only 47 games; Meanwhile, Alexandar Georgiev has 96 games of experience and his numbers are pretty solid as well. While Shesterkin looks more like a long-term pick, anyone can guess how the Rangers might fare this season and young goalies tend to be mercurial.
The Rangers also lack experience in defense and will instead have to rely on sophomore K’Andre Miller and rookie Zac Jones to play potentially big roles. To be sure, both Shesterkin and Georgiev should be on the list, and no one should be surprised if there is some sort of timeshare at some point in the season. Still, quality goalies appear to be in short supply this season, and given Shesterkin’s talent and potential workload, he’s a solid bet as a Top 10 goalie.
Outlook: Panarin, Fox, and Mika Zibanejad are great, fantastic options, and they’ll definitely be popular choices in the early rounds. But they will also have a middle class that can bring a lot of assets, including LafreniÃ¨re, Kakko, Filip Chytil and Vitali Kravtsov, who will certainly absorb some of the minutes left vacant by Pavel Buchnevich on the right wing.
In fact, maybe it’s time to leave Chris Kreider, who has been a 20-goal machine but will take over his more talented teammates sooner rather than later. It’s the same story in defense even if Jacob Trouba is only 27 years old; Miller, Jones and Ryan Lindgren could all make huge strides this season and overtake him on the depth chart. The Rangers will be interesting to watch all season long.