Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the New York Rangers. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.
Summer Skate -- New York Rangers
The Blueshirts made good on last year's VUKOTA projections that ranked them fourth in the NHL, finishing with the first seed in the East before bowing out of the playoffs in the conference finals. Anecdotally, the Rangers relied on the elite goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist (true) and loads of shot blocking (true, but way overblown) for their success, while falling short in the playoffs because of a lack of scoring (a bit simplistic).
The offseason cure was a trade for Columbus' Rick Nash, but solving a scoring problem in the NHL isn't always as easy as adding a sniper. The team embarks on its next campaign without three forwards who have taken on tough assignments and fared well in the possession game, Brandon Dubinsky, Brandon Prust and Artem Anisimov, without finding adequate replacements for them. The end result is that the Rangers may have fixed a couple leaks in the dyke while springing a few unexpected holes. But fortunately for the Blueshirts, their top four defensemen won't be one of those areas.
Trending up: D Marc Staal
Last season: minus-0.4 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 4.0 GVT