Rick Nash had parts of last season where he thrived and other parts where he struggled. His up and down year in his first season with the New York Rangers will not be the case in the 2013-2014 season for a few reasons.
For one instance, this upcoming season will be a full-length 82-game season, unlike last year’s strike shortened 48-game season. Another reason is that this year the Rangers, and every NHL team, will have a training camp in which Nash can really get to know his teammates’ tendencies on the ice a lot better, which will result in a better and more aware Nash. The last reason is the hiring of Rangers new head coach, Alain Vigneault. Last year, under former head coach John Tortorella, Nash’s talents were not properly used, as a lot of times last year he was not even featured on the power play and just was not put in the right offense to showcase all of his offensive capabilities.
With all that being said, Nash still put up 21 goals and and 21 assists in 44 games last year, and a lot of games he was the best player on the ice for the Rangers. This unfortunately would change in the postseason, as in 12 playoff games only had one goal and four assists.
Some of this I feel is due to Tortorella’s conservative and defensive style of play, but another reason is simply the fact that Nash did not have time to gel with his new teammates because of there not being a training camp due to the lockout.
With Vigneault as the Rangers new head coach and his more uptempo, offensive style of play, I think Nash should have the best season of his career. A bold statement, yes, but if you look back as Nash’s career, he has 40 goals per year talent but has only reached 40+ goals twice in his career, mostly due to the fact that he was on absolutely horrible Columbus Blue Jackets teams.
This year, however, I believe Nash is on the best team he has ever been on in his career. The Rangers got better this offseason and should flourish in Vigneault’s style of play. I expect Nash, barring any injuries, to have 45 goals and 35 assists this season.
What do you think?