The Hockey News puts out a yearbook before every season with their predictions for the season along with a fantasy guide with point predictions for players of each team. Apparently some people were not on the same page.
Lets start with the yearbook. In here they do projections on how the final standings will look at the end of the regular season and even have a Stanley Cup prediction. In the yearbook, The Hockey News has the Rangers finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference in front of only the Islanders and Thrashers. That is 13th...3rd to last in the conference after four consecutive playoff trips.
Many Ranger fans, myself included, do not agree with this. Yes the Rangers have had a high turnover from last season with a brand new coach to start the season. Are their reservations? Yes. Could this actually happen? Of course. It is anyone's guess right now as to who will win the Stanley Cup.
But if you are going to make predictions like this, your prediction should be across the board. Lets look at the fantasy pool guide that The Hockey News put out as well. They did not do projections for every player but for the key guys on each team. Here are the Rangers:
Marian Gaborik 47 G-47A-94 P
Sean Avery 18G-20A-38 P
Brandon Dubinsky 17G-32A-49 P
Chris Drury 25G-38A-63 P
Ales Kotalik 20G-25A-45 P
Vaclav Prospal 25G-38A-63P
Chris Higgins 23G-20A-43P
Artem Anisimov 12G-22A-34P
Ryan Callahan 28G-23A-51P
Tyler Arnason 11G-20A-31P
Michal Rozsival 10G-22A-32P
Wade Redden 5G-25A-30P
Matt Gilroy 12G-33A-45P
Henrik Lundqvist 37W 2.45 GAA .915 SV% 5 SO
Steve Valiquette 8W 2.65 GAA .909 SV% 1 SO
If you read that and take a minute to think about these predictions you will notice certain things. Bear in mind that The Hockey News who did these predictions, also has the Rangers finishing in 13th in the Eastern Conference. So lets assume that this coming season plays out and these stats are what the players put up:
1. The Rangers will have six twenty goal scorers with Gaborik, Callahan, Drury, Prospal, Higgins, and Kotalik will all break the 20 goal plateau. For a point of reference, the Rangers only had four true 20 goal scorers (Nik Antropov had twenty goals but most were with the Toronto Maple Leafs).
2. The Rangers will have a 45+ goal scorer in Marian Gaborik.
3. Henrik Lundqvist will finish with 37 wins while Steve Valiquette will add for a total win column of 45 wins on the season. That is 90 points right there, not including extra points gained for losing in overtime or the shootout.
Lets start at point number one. When you add up all the goals from those projections for those players, you get 168 total goals. The entire Ranger team last season scored 200 goals even and made the playoffs. I am supposed to believe the Rangers will get 168 goals from six players and not make the playoffs? Right. Another goal scorer who will make this team, not included in these predictions, is Enver Lisin who has the potential to be another 20 goals scorer. If you add in Avery's 18 goals and Dubinsky's 17, the Rangers are already over last season's total goals.
Looking at Marian Gaborik, 47 is a healthy amount of goals. Of course he has the skill to score more than that but it would be the most since Jagr's record breaking 54 goals after the lockout. This past year, no team with a 45+ goal scorer missed the playoffs. Only two teams missed the playoffs when having at least one 40 goal scorer.
Last but not least, we take a look at the foundation of the New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist. The Hockey News has him finishing with 37 wins, which is a respectable amount. You throw in Steve Valiquette's 8 wins and you have a total of 45 wins on the season for 90 points. This does not include points gained from overtime and shootout losses. Who else had exactly 45 wins this past season? The Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins...the two Eastern Conference finalists and the Stanley Cup Champions.
So...the Rangers will finish in 13th with six 20 goal scorers, a 45+ goal scorer, and the same amount of wins as the final two teams in the Eastern Conference this past year? A nice cracker jack job by the Hockey News staff up there in Toronto actually thinking this through. Many people read the Hockey News and consider the people there as experts on the sport.
Don't get me wrong. I think The Hockey News has great writers and I enjoy their publication as a subscriber myself but this was a sub-par effort by one of the biggest hockey publications in the world.
Were these coordinately written and made? Probably not but the Hockey News looks like a huge hypocrite to Ranger fans right now.