Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – NY Rangers
For the last 12 years over at The Hockey News, I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. Now that I am no longer with THN, my 13th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – The biggest impact is the loss of St. Louis who, while on the decline, was still the recipient of a lot of ice time both on the power play and at even strength. Assuming that Etem replaces Hagelin in terms of ice time, situations and production (35 points is a pretty achievable goal), that leaves St. Louis' production (52) points. The Rangers have several young forwards with plenty of upside and it's reasonable to expect some or all of them to improve on their production with a little more ice time.
Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider are good bets to improve by a handful of points. But putting one of them on a scoring line could mean a 10- or even 15-point improvement. It will be interesting to see which young gun really steps up this season. Someone is going to turn out to be a great sleeper pick. Now if only I knew who, I could get a second mortgage and run off to Vegas…
Ready for full-time – The Rangers did a great job of integrating youngsters over the last two years, with the aforementioned three players, as well as Mats Zuccarello, who is a couple of years older but was a late bloomer who turned pro. You can also add Jesper Fast to the list, who seems like a very capable and speedy fit for the checking line. So this season there won't be any rookie hotshots.
Oscar Lindberg is a two-way center with a bit of upside and you could see the team transition from Dominic Moore to him later in the season. That would set him up to be a full-timer in 2016-17 and take Moore's spot.
Dylan McIlrath has a real good chance at the No. 7 defenseman job. He's not much for points, but his penalty minutes would get you 1.5 per game.
Fantasy Outlook – The Rangers boast a lot of depth on their NHL roster, with three solid lines of appealing forwards for fantasy hockey. And Keith Yandle is one of the best defensemen to own in fantasy hockey – and Henrik Lundqvist is one of the top goaltenders. The core is mostly in their prime or just closing in on it, so things should remain fruitful for two or three years yet. The prospect pipeline leaves something to be desired, as there aren't really any fantasy-worthy prospects on the way other than maybe Pavel Buchnevich.
Fantasy Grade: B+ (last year was B+)
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