NEW YORK (PIX11) — The Rangers opened up training camp Wednesday with eyes on winning a Stanley Cup for the first time since 1994.
Oct. 11 is the season opener against the Lightning at the Garden. The team comes in with realistic expectations and a bullseye on their back after their run to the Eastern Conference finals this past spring.
If the Rangers win the cup next spring, we know they will need brilliant goaltending from Igor Shisterken. They’ll lean on new captain Jacob Trouba and fellow defenseman Adam Fox to go along with forwards Chris Kryder, Mike Zebenejiad and Artemi Panerin. But, the key to me will be the continued development, growth and playmaking ability of a trio of youngsters.
Can center Filip Chytyl build upon his post-season performance from last year? Finnish winger Kappo Kakko was the second overall pick in the 2019 draft and has yet to put it all together despite his obvious talent. He was a healthy scratch in game six last year against Tampa Bay, a game in which the Rangers were eliminated.
Left winger Alexei Lafranier was the number-1 overall pick in the 2020 draft. He has shown leadership, toughness and the physicality that you love, but his game also needs to evolve. All three are former first round draft choices. All three have the skill and ability to be difference makers, but all three have yet to consistently put it together. A Stanley Cup is well within reach if they do to go along with the known constants on this blue shirt team.