New York Rangers: Is Their Top Line The League's Best?

By Randy Holt
Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The New York Rangers made a big statement with the acquisition of Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets, sending Brandon DubinskyArtem Anisimov, and Tim Erixon to Ohio in order to acquire him.

The move essentially indicates that the Rangers are “going for it” and quite possibly gives them the best team, on paper, in the Eastern Conference, if not the entire league. More specifically, it may also give them a better top line than anyone else in the National Hockey League.

Though nothing is set in stone, Nash is expected to join Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik on the top line for the blue shirts, with Ryan Callahan dropping down to the second trio, presumably with Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan.

Between Nash, Richards, and Gaborik, there are over 850 career goals and over 1,000 career assists, to go along with eight All Star appearances. They may not have totaled the most points of any top line together last year, but joining up on New YOrk’s first line could make it so this season.

We saw what Gaborik did with a guy like Brad Richards next to him last year. He returned to his 40-goals coring ways, and an All Star appearance in Ottawa. Richards himself had over 60 points in his first year with the Blueshirts, while no doubt undergoing an adjustment to his change of scenery. He could see a boost in numbers this year.

Rick Nash may face a similar adjustment, but given his linemates, it shouldn’t be too long of an adjustment period. He adds some size to a line that could use it, while also bringing an average of at least 60 points a year to the group. Put him next to the pure scorer in Gaborik and the playmaker Richards and you’ve got a brilliant mix down on broadway.

This is going to be a nightmare matchup for opposing defensemen, and should be absolute dynamite. Even if they don’t rack up the points to begin the season, this has a very good chance to become the most dangerous top line in the NHL.

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