Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – New York Rangers
For the last 15 years (12 with The Hockey News, last year’s via pinch-hitter Cam Robinson) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 16th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Gone – Paul Carey, David Desharnais, Ryan Sproul, Coach Alain Vigneault
Incoming – Fredrik Claesson, Coach David Quinn
Impact of changes – The Rangers didn’t have much in the way of changes this offseason as they got all that out of the way back in February when they moved Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh. The two trades brought in a lot of young assets, both for the roster and in the system. A new coach in David Quinn certainly offers a fresh start for several players, most notably Pavel Buchnevich, who perhaps wasn’t getting used in an ideal manner under Vigneault and I look to him as having been impacted the most and in a positive way.
Ready for full-time – It looks like the Rangers will be going ahead with Alexandar Georgiev as their backup netminder. And that’s great, unless Henrik Lundqvist gets injured, as has happened more frequently this late in his career. Even then, maybe it’s still great. Or perhaps Georgiev doesn’t handle a starter’s workload well, in which case the Rangers can either go and acquire help or chalk 2018-19 up as a rebuilding season anyway. The 22-year-old Georgiev was a standout in Finland before the team signed him last summer as an undrafted free agent. He did fairly well in 37 AHL games before being called up to the big club. His 0.918 SV% in 10 games was impressive enough that the team is going ahead with him. Pencil him in for 25 starts, more if Lundqvist gets hurt.
Defenseman Neal Pionk is another great undrafted free agent signing that they made last summer. After a standout sophomore season for Minnesota-Duluth, he transitioned well to the pros, tallying 17 points in 48 games with Hartford. He was even more impressive when New York called him up as he picked up 14 points in 28 games. He’s being used more for defense at even strength and is only a secondary power-play option, so getting 30 points this season will be tough. But he should at least make this team and put up 25.
Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil are the Rangers’ two top prospect forwards, both drafted last summer – for those counting, that makes four prospects that the team added in 2017 who are close to NHL ready today. Andersson was selected seventh overall last summer. He has scoring-line upside and could make the squad as a third liner. He did not look out of place when he played seven games to end the season. Chytil was drafted 14 slots after Andersson, and he actually made the team out of camp and played two games before being sent down. He has just as much chance as Andersson of making this team, though I wonder if the team will make room for both straight out of camp – you may see one get called up midseason. I don’t think either will reach the 30-point mark as a rookie, but this season will be a nice stepping stone for them.
New York Rangers prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – Once the Rangers decided to rebuild, they moved quickly and decisively and I like that. Today the organization is much better with Ryan Spooner, Vladislav Namestnikov, Brett Howden, Ryan Lindgren, Libor Hajek, Nils Lundkvist, K’Andre Miller instead of Rick Nash, J.T. Miller and Vladislav Namestnikov – even if they were forced to take Matt Beleskey, too. The problem is that nobody on this team will reach the 60-point mark this season. And while five or six players will hit 50 points, that’s just not enough to make fantasy owners excited about one of their players getting dealt to the Rangers. The prospect pipeline is weak, other than the players I already mentioned as well as elite prospect goaltender Igor Shesterkin. But at least this team is on the road to turning things around.
Fantasy Grade: C- (last year was B)
Other Offseason Fantasy Outlooks:
- Ramblings: Canes Celebrating, Players Returning From Injury (Feb 17)
- Fantasy Take: Oilers and Flyers Swap Goalies
- Ramblings: Schneider Wins! Plus Thoughts on Schenn, Matthews, and more...
- Fantasy Take: Gagner Traded For Spooner
- The Journey: Fastest Rising Prospect Forwards - February 2019
- Top 50 Fantasy Prospect Defensemen - February 2019
- Saturday's NHL Picks: February 16, 2019
- 21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles