Last season saw the New York Rangers advance to the second round and then fire their coach. The replacement coach was also fired for the same offense. What Alain Vigneault brings to the table remains to be seen. Some observers have questioned his ability to hold players accountable. This will be a notable departure from the coach he replaced, who also replaced him in his former organization, who some think was a touch too critical.
Between new to the organization players like Benoit Pouliot, and as yet to stick to the regular season players like Chris Kreider shaking down into a the New Coach Order will not be easy. Prospects like Samuel Noreau, Josh Nicholls, Michael St. Coix, and New York City native Michael Kantor will be fighting not just for scanty roster spots but to be early callups. Brad Richards who both won a Cup and sputtered spectacularly under former coach John Tortorello will need to find his game this season if he expects to be an NHL player next season. Rick Nash had a solid regular season last year but needs to find his way to success under yet another new head coach. Only six skaters on the New York Rangers have contracts beyond this season, with Derek Stepan as yet unsigned that’s a lot of uncertainty.
The Rangers will open their season on the road, for all five games. That five games without last change, and five games where they will likely travel the day before or immediately after the game. Four of their first five opponents were playoff teams last year, and it is hard to imagine any of them as worse off than last year.
Number of days 1-5:
Number of cities: 5
Best opponent: Anaheim Ducks
Weakest opponent: Phoenix Coyotes
Home games: 0
Projected points: 4
The month of October could be very, very frustrating for New York Rangers and New York Rangers fans. There are only two home games all month, and the first isn’t until the 28th. Of the twelve games in the opening four weeks there’s only two you can look at and say the team has no excuse not to win. With a new coach, several new players, a likely trade or two, and the limited practice time available with so much early travel if October is the best month of the season for the Rangers, blueshirt friends are in for a long, unpleasant year.