Edward Fraser wonders which teams The Hockey News picked to badly miss the playoffs and are off to hot starts can sustain the early momentum and which are destined to eventually drop off...
NEW YORK RANGERS
THN Prediction: 13th in Eastern Conference
I spoke to Mark Messier a couple weeks back and ‘The Moose’ had this to say of our 13th-place pick: “I would find it hard to pick a team with a goalie like (Henrik) Lundqvist 12th or 13th.”
It’s a damn good point.
The super-Swede netminder, thrice a finalist for the Vezina, has been excellent this season, posting a 2.34 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in six outings. But it hasn’t been ‘Hank’ alone propelling the Blueshirts to a 6-1-0 start; Marian Gaborik is putting up MVP numbers, Chris Drury and Wade Redden look reborn, and youngsters Artem Anisimov, Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto have injected some much-needed enthusiasm into the Blueshirts lineup.
On second thought: A strong division will make the row tough to hoe, but as long as Gaborik avoids a mid-body meltdown, the Broadway Boys will easily make the playoffs.
...i don't care how well the rest of the team is playing, if Gaborik goes down the Rangers are in trouble. Period.
...however, if he stays healthy, the Rangers are a legit Eastern Conference champion contender.