Before the 2010-11 season, I predicted here that the Rangers will not improve over the 2009-10 season and are probably better off with a semi-rebuild by dumping vets. The season ultimately ended the same way as the year before, except the Rangers won their last game.
At 2011-12 season I wrote that the team will be a long-shot contender, getting into an argument (NYR v CAR) over it on the Trade Rumors board. The prediction was accurate.
Last year, I wrote that we'll have severe depth problems, and we did have them until we got Brass, Door and Moore for Gabby, as well as MZA.
So here's this year's prediction: We will contend for the Stanley Cup.
Our center depth is terrific, with three top-6 guys (Step, Brass and Brad) and several more who can perform on the bottom-6 (Boyle, Moore, Powe, Lindberg).
On the wing, the addition of MZA, Pouliot and some rookies (Miller, Fast, potentially Hrivik, Kreider and Kristo) gives the team real depth.
Rather than calling up every random AHLer (Noob, Segal, Ferriero) or rookies who were clearly not ready last year (Miller, Kreider), we will be able to not only call up NHL-ready players, but players who actually fit the job for which they will be called up for.
On defense, Moore is going to be a tremendous player. He'll be thought of in the same terms of McDonagh and Staal in a couple of years, and even this year he'll prove himself to be a top-4 defenseman.
This team has both depth and stars. There's no reason it won't compete for the Stanley Cup.
This post made me look pretty silly early in the season as we got our game going, but now we are the only team to have won a game in the Conference Finals. With almost 90% (26 out of 30) teams playing golf, we are clearly one of the top teams in the NHL.
My general prediction that this team can do real damage because it has tremendous depth was right on target. The team's depth is its greatest strength, unlike the last few years when it was a weakness. I was wrong on some players, however. John Moore has been a disappointment. That said, he's still young and I continue to have faith in them. Fast, Miller and Lindberg were also not yet ready, but all of them have real NHL futures. On the other hand, very few people at the time thought Pouliot will be useful. The signing of Moore has also been crucial, as has the emergence of Zuccarello, a free agent signing from the past.
But overall, we clearly are a real contender based on how deep this team is.
If you would have told me in November that we would be one of the last 4 teams remaining in the playoffs, I would have laughed hard. Hell, if you would have told me that 3 weeks before the end of the season I would have laughed.
This team really turned itself around and then some.