Key Reasons Why New York Rangers Are Still Team to Beat

By Nick T.
Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

It’s more than fair to say that the New York Rangers have had their fair share of struggles this season. But equipped with a lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season, there are a number of contributing factors that leave us to believe that the team is still prized to win the Stanley Cup .

Despite injuries to key players such as Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash and Michael Del Zotto, the Rangers (8-8-2) were still picked by many as the overall favorites. And despite recent injury setbacks from Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash, they still have the talent to go the distance.

New York has a good mix of young talent and veteran leadership at their disposal. Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, McDonagh and Del Zotto all proved their grit last season and have shown the poise in the first month of the 2013 campaign to compete at coach John Tortorella’s level. Chris Kreider has even shown spurts of brilliance in his career, tallying five goals in a span of 18 games. And according to hockeysfuture.com, the team also boasts the 17th-ranked prospect in the NHL.

The biggest draw for the Rangers is on their front line. Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik have all mysteriously vanished from the spotlight. But the lack of a training camp has wrecked havoc on their chemistry. But all three are natural born scorers and, given the opportunity, can show just why most experts have tabbed them as the best in the business at what they do.

Henrik Lundqvist is arguably the best goalie in the league. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner has only tallied 2.28 goals against him per game, which is right on par with his career average. If he can rebound from a his less-than-stellar 2012 playoff performance, than the Rangers could still be the heavy favorites in the wide-open East.