NHL New York Rangers

5 New York Rangers Who Need Bounce Back Years in the 2013-2014 Season

1 of 6

5 New York Rangers Who Need Bounce Back Years in the 2013-2014 Season

5 New York Rangers Who Need Bounce Back Years in the 2013-2014 Season
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

After an Eastern Conference Finals birth in the 2011-12 season, the New York Rangers took a step backwards in the 2013 strike shortened season by only advancing as far as the second round.

For the upcoming 2013-14 82-game regular season, there are more than a few players on the Rangers current roster that need to step up and have bounce-back seasons in order for the Rangers to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals and go to the next level, the Stanley Cup Finals.

By bounce-back seasons, I am not only referring to players who had a rough season last year producing points, but also players who sadly were not on the ice for an extended period of time last season due to injuries.

Even with the Rangers adding more depth this offseason and improving their team, there are still some players on last years’ squad that need to step up, play and produce like they have done in prior years.

This slideshow is a list containing who I believe to be are the top-five Rangers on their current roster who need to have bounce-back years for this upcoming season, in order for the Rangers to get back to the ECF and beyond to the finals.

The bar was set two seasons ago, and now it is time for the Blueshirts to get to the next level.

Please go through all of the slides, have fun and feel free to leave any comments about this list and whether you agree or disagree. Thank you, and go Rangers.

2 of 6

5. Taylor Pyatt

Taylor Pyatt
Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Pyatt leads off this list at No. 5. Now whether he is even on the Rangers by the start of the season because of a trade is still unknown, but if he remains on the current roster, he needs to step up way bigger than he did last season.

Heck, Pyatt did not even step up at all last season. He had a pretty good beginning of the year, then was invisible for most of the season, and then showed up a little toward the end.

Pyatt played in all 48 games of the strike-shortened season last year, but only ended up with six goals and five assists. In order for the Rangers to be better this season, Pyatt has to return to his form of a few years ago when he was a mid-teen goal scorer.

3 of 6

4. Brian Boyle

Brian Boyle
Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Boyle is another player who could not even be on the Rangers roster by the start of the season, but if he were to remain in red, white and blue, Boyle will have to play immensely better for the Rangers to get to that next level.

In 38 out of 48 games last season, Boyle scored two goals and recorded three assists. Absolutely pitiful if you ask me.

It was only two seasons ago, even though it seems like a lifetime ago, that Boyle scored 21 goals and had 14 assists. Now, while nobody thinks he could ever put up those numbers again, Boyle will still have to score at least 10-15 goals for the Rangers to improve from last season.

4 of 6

3. Marc Staal

Marc Staal
Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

There is only one reason why Marc Staal is even on this list and that is his health. When Staal plays, he is one of the best shutdown defenders in the league and makes the Rangers defense so much better. However, it now seems like a healthy Staal is nearly impossible.

Last season, Staal did not even play in half of the games, only 21 out of 48, but still had 11 points in those 21 games while doing all of the little things that does not show up in a box score.

The last time Staal played a complete season was all the way back in 2009-10. After his horrific eye injury last season, Staal said his eye might never recover 100 percent, but still plans to play through it and be his old self.

While I think Staal can still be effective, I do not think we will ever see the same old Marc Staal us Rangers fans are accustomed to seeing. However, I do believe that even Staal at 75 percent will improve the Rangers defense dramatically and help them get to the next level.

5 of 6

2. Michael Del Zotto

Michael Del Zotto
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Del Zotto, the man who has been given harsh nicknames such as Del Zippo, Del Zaster, and I am sure many more, is No. 2 on this list.

Del Zotto has always had the potential to be a very good offensive defenseman, but struggles greatly in consistency on both offense and defense, which frustrates Rangers fans to no end.

What many forget about, though, is that Del Zotto is still only 23 years old and is not even in the prime of his career yet, meaning he can still get better and better as the years progress.

With that being said, Del Zotto needs to step up and improve greatly this upcoming season. Not only because Rangers fans are tired of his inconsistency, but also because with the Rangers hiring of a new head coach who plays a more up tempo style of hockey, that being Alain Vigneault, Del Zotto should benefit a lot from his style of play and should put up pretty great numbers. Notice I said should.

6 of 6

1. Brad Richards

Brad Richards
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Richards is, without a doubt, the man of the hour on this list. Richards, who just two years ago signed a gaudy nine-year contract worth $60 million, was already thought about being bought out.

Many Rangers fans and hockey fans in general were all actually shocked that Rangers GM Glen Sather did not indeed buy Richards out of his contract. That is how bad Richards played last season.

He looked almost like he aged 10 years from the previous season. In 46 games last year, Richards recorded only 11 goals and 23 assists and was so awful in the playoffs, with one goal and no assists, that he was a healthy scratch in the team’s last two playoff games before elimination.

Richards was a big help in the Rangers successes two years ago in going to the Eastern Conference Finals, and if the Rangers want to get back there and even beyond that this season, then Brad Richards is the No. 1 Ranger who needs a bounce back season, not only for the team’s sake, but for him as well.