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Season Preview 2019-20: New York Rangers

The youth movement and some major off-season moves have fast-tracked the rebuild and could put the Blueshirts back in the post-season mix earlier than expected.

How soon do the kids take over?
This is a very exciting season for Rangers fans – and anyone who loves elite prospects, for that matter. New York has Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov and Adam Fox each coming in for a shot at the big squad, and all three have a ton of ability. Kakko and Kravtsov are big, skilled bodies up front, while Fox is a college-hardened offensive defenseman who can quarterback a power play. Coach David Quinn is great when it comes to working with the young generation, so it will be fun to see how quickly these kids can make an impact. While the Rangers still have veteran talent, there is certainly room on the roster for the next generation to develop alongside the graybeards.

Is Jacob Trouba a No. 1 defenseman?
General manager Jeff Gorton made a savvy trade for the rearguard this summer, bringing Trouba over from Winnipeg, where he was always overshadowed by other defensemen. But Trouba is coming off a career-high 50 points and, with a new long-term contract to live up to, has all the motivation in the world to surpass that on his new team. With the Rangers buying out Kevin Shattenkirk, the table is set for Trouba to make a big impact. Now it’s just a matter of him executing. Trouba has the two-way skill set to be a top-pairing guy, and he did play solid minutes with the Jets last season. Let’s see how he handles the big Broadway stage.

How much should Hank play?
Once he retires, Henrik Lundqvist will go down as one of the best and most important Rangers of all-time. But he’s still under contract for two more seasons, and it doesn’t sound like he wants to go anywhere else. That’s a bit of a short-term issue, because Lundqvist has struggled the past few seasons. His .907 save percentage in 2018-19 was the lowest mark of his stellar career. In the meantime, backup Alexandar Georgiev has turned in nice performances and played a meaty 33 games last season. While Georgiev gives New York a nice option now, there’s also super-prospect Igor Shesterkin to consider. He’ll be making his North American debut this season, and who knows how fast he’ll acclimate?

Stanley Cup Odds: 57/1

Rookie Watch
Where to begin? There’s Kaapo Kakko, the second overall pick and total beast on the wing. There’s also Adam Fox, the NCAA gem and blueline power-play quarterback. And then there’s Vitali Kravtsov, the big and talented Russian making his North American debut – same with goalie Igor Shesterkin.

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