5 Things That Must Happen for New York Rangers in 2014-15 Season

5 Things That Must Happen for New York Rangers in 2014-15 Season

Martin St. Louis Ryan McDonagh New York Rangers
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The New York Rangers made an unbelievable run to the Stanley Cup Final last season in head coach Alain Vigneault’s first season with the Blueshirts. Although they lost the Final, there’s plenty of optimism and confidence that they can become even better moving forward. Every team has a formula for success; here are five things that must be part of that formula if the Rangers want to repeat as Eastern Conference Champions.

5. Top Defensive Pair Must Stay Healthy

Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi New York Rangers
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5. Top Defensive Pair Must Stay Healthy

Ryan McDOnagh Dan Girardi New York Rangers
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The top pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi have been playing together for years and are extremely vital to New York’s success. Defensively, they’re about as solid as any duo in the game. They need to stay healthy this season and continue their sound play. The Rangers can’t afford to have either of these guys miss significant time, so hopefully they stay healthy throughout the season.

4. Cam Talbot Must Play Between 20 And 25 Games

Cam Talbot New York Rangers
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4. Cam Talbot Must Play Between 20 And 25 Games

Cam Talbot New York Rangers
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Talbot played 21 games and shined in goal as a rookie last season. He needs to play between 20 and 25 games this season to help keep Henrik Lundqvist rested. They need to try and keep Lundqvist in the low 60s for regular-season starts, which they were able to do last season. The added rest becomes very valuable in the event of a deep playoff run, which New York found out earlier this year. Talbot's play will be important in the regular season.

3. 30-Plus Goals From Rick Nash

Rick Nash New York Rangers
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3. 30-Plus Goals From Rick Nash

Rick Nash New York Rangers
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Nash led the Rangers in goals last season with 26, but he’s capable of lifting that number substantially. With less offensive firepower at the forward positions than last season, Nash needs to score 30-plus goals to help make up for that. He also needs to up his production on the power play and, of course, he has to show up in the playoffs if they make it. He will be motivated to return to his elite form after his poor postseason last spring.

2. Derek Stepan Must Prove Himself As Legitimate First-Line Center

Derek Stepan New York Rangers
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2. Derek Stepan Must Prove Himself As Legitimate First-Line Center

Derek Stepan New York Rangers
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Stepan played well last season and posted a career-high 57 points, but he needs to take the next step toward establishing himself as New York’s first-line center. He began doing that last season, and must build on it. He needs to be able to stand up to other teams' first-line centers, which is some fierce competition. Stepan’s developed into a great player, but he needs to continue improving all phases of his game at his position in the lineup.

1. Power Play Must Improve

Derick Brassard New York Rangers
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1. Power Play Must Improve

Derick Brassard New York Rangers
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Of the eight teams that made the playoffs in the East last season, the Rangers were tied for last in power play goals. Not only does the power play have to produce more, it has to pressure the defense more consistently. There were far too many power plays last season where they couldn’t get anything going or smoothly enter the zone. You can’t expect to score on every man-advantage, but they need to manage the puck better and the goals will come.

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