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Predicting New York Rangers’ Top 5 Point Scorers For 2013-14

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Who Will Lead New York Rangers In Points For 2013-14?

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the New York Rangers’ defense was one of the best in the league. With arguably the best goaltender in the NHL, Henrik Lundqvist, it was tough for opposing forwards to put the puck in the net. Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, their forwards experienced those same frustrations as they struggled to generate offense and help Lundqvist out by scoring some goals.

This season with new head coach Alain Vigneault at the helm the offense has higher expectations. Vigneault is known for allowing his forwards to get creative in the offensive zone and allows them the freedom of improvisation. This philosophy has led to the higher expectations that the Rangers will need to deliver if they want to contend for a Stanley Cup.

There are plenty of skill players on the roster who are capable of scoring. The question is, will they?

I expect to see an increase in goals this season. With Vigneault’s coaching style and the likes of Rick Nash and Derek Stepan on offense there are no more excuses for the Rangers' offensive woes. Add in secondary scorers like Carl Hagelin and Benoit Pouliot and you have a formidable, deep lineup.

Lundqvist can’t keep winning games by himself, and the Rangers know that. The forwards need to hold themselves accountable if goals aren’t registered on a nightly basis, and there needs to be a sense of pride taken in being a cohesive offensive unit.

Here are my predictions for the leading point scorers in the upcoming year.

Martin Burns covers the New York Rangers for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter for more thoughts on the team and the rest of the NHL!

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5. Brad Richards

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

PREDICTION: 20 goals, 38 assists, 58 points

Certainly Rangers fans will hope Brad Richards can return to form as a 70 point scorer, but it seems as though he is on the downturn of his career. Nevertheless, 20 goals and 38 assists would be a solid year for Richards.

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4. Ryan Callahan

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

PREDICTION: 31 goals, 29 assists, 60 points

Ryan Callahan does so much more than put up numbers, but he's pretty good at that too. Expect the Captain to eclipse the 30 goal mark this season.

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3. Derick Brassard

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

PREDICTION: 23 goals, 42 assists, 65 points

After being traded over from Columbus Blue Jackets last season, Derick Brassard turned some heads in New York with his skillful passing and quick wrist shot. He seems to finally be comfortable playing hockey and has a bright future ahead of him. Expect him to take a leap this season.

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2. Derek Stepan

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

PREDICTION: 25 goals, 45 assists, 70 points

With his newly signed contract, Derek Stepan is ready to lead the Rangers' offensive attack as the top playmaking center on the roster. Stepan has the potential to net 30 goals, but I think it's more realistic to expect around 25. He is primed for a big year.

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1. Rick Nash

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

PREDICTION: 38 goals, 34 assists, 72 points

The most skilled goal scorer on the roster, Rick Nash will lead the Rangers in goals and points this season. He is perhaps the most lethal forward in one-on-one situations in the NHL and has a knack for the net. A season with two up-and-coming star centers, Stepan and Brassard, should certainly help Nash's point production.