As promised, here is Part II of my projections for each Ranger this season. This part will take a look at the other forwards not listed in Part I, and may end up including some forwards who do not play with the Rangers for a full season. Nonetheless, I cannot count them out at this point. Before you follow on after the jump, just a general note from Part I:
I discovered point projection techniques about two years ago via the always amazing behindthenet.com (a must-read SB Nation side if you like to have numbers on your side), and through my research and use of the league translations for fantasy hockey I can say personally that the numbers prove more right than wrong most of the time. At the same time, I'm also a believer that these numbers are still developing in hockey and that a good sense of the game can allow one to tweak the projections when necessary. Below are my projections with a 6 point range for each player and it also should be noted that the point ranges are based on 82 games played. By totaling the points and discounting said number for injuries, we can also take a stab at the Rangers final goals per game number - which in general is one way to rank an offense within the league.
Let the fun begin:
Brandon Prust, who turned 26 years old last March, is supposed to be in the prime of his statistical career as a hockey player. His offensive ability as an NHL player is obviously limited, but he plays hard (to the delight of Blueshirt fans) and has a high chance of having his best season points-wise in the NHL if he fits into Torts' plans.
Meanwhile, I think one of the best signings (bang for your buck, Glen!) this past summer was Tim Kennedy. The kid oozes consistency along with playing with energy and smarts. Add on a respectable rookie season and I think Torts has to include Kennedy consistently in the lineup. Like Anisimov, he should see a slight bump in his PPG and points overall if he plays consistent third or fourth line minutes.
The good about signing an Olympic stand-out in Zuccarello: the tournament is played at a high speed and high skill level with proven NHL stars. The bad: it's only a sample size of games (4 for Mats) and it's on a bigger ice surface. I remember watching him and my only question is can he make the transition to the NHL? Sure-fire draft picks from North America sometimes cant live up to the NHL. If we go by the league translations then Zuccarello should be almost a point-per-game player. But, because of the adjustment period, I think a reasonable goal would be somewhere between 15 and 25 points if he plays consistently. If, and this is a bigger if, he plays like he did in the Olympics and plays up to his statistics from Europe, we could see a 40 point rookie season as I pegged him for up top on the board.
[Note by Rob Luker, 09/27/10 2:23 PM EDT ] Well then, with the recent news that MZA will be sent to Hartford, where does that leave us now? Who knows, to be honest. The Rangers have so much bottom-six forwards depth I wish I had somewhat of an insight. One positive out of this is that if MZA rips up the AHL that puts him top of the pecking order for a call up. Arguably, the Swedish Elite League is of higher competition than the AHL, so I'm curious to see how he does.
Brian Boyle will be gunning for the prestigious job of fourth line center while Fedotenko, if he makes the team, has the proven history of a 30-point guy. Stepan is a proven talent and we all hope that he could be the first line center the team has been lacking for what seems like forever. He's a rookie that everyone wants on the team but is still not on it quite yet; making him a wild-card. I put him at a somewhat conservative 25 points but obviously if he captures a first or second line center spot that number should rise. Finally, Evgeny Grachev is looking for a spot on the left wing but still has to prove himself. He's got talent, but does he have the drive and intensity to set himself apart from the others? Only time will tell.
[Note by Rob Luker, 09/27/10 2:30 PM EDT ] Grachev's "time to tell" will be spent in Hartford as of today. If he spends another year in Hartford he has to hit at least 35 to 40 points this season in my mind to make any sort of statement regarding his worth of talent.
The reason why I think Todd White will see a slight dip in production is simply because it is easier to score in the Southeast division than it is in any other division in the NHL. That, and the fact that he's 35. Christensen, meanwhile, will bounce from line to line due to his inconsistency. Along with that, its hard to re-produce the post-trade numbers over a complete year; meaning I expect a little less production. The whole asterisk, per usual, is if he gets streaky with Gaborik and ends up playing the majority of the season with him. Then it's a complete coin-flip.
So let's hear it in the comments. Part III (Defense and Team Scoring) will be posted on Friday. I plan on re-visiting these at least at the end of the season, so that should be fun and funny as well.