After a relatively slow start to the season as a .500 team, the New York Rangers have turned the heat up, holding a winning record since the All-Star game. Led by the Rangers’ three All-Stars, defenseman Adam Fox, left-winger Artemi “The Breadman” Panarin, and star goaltender Igor Shesterkin, the sky’s the limit for this team.
However, these All-Stars don’t tell the full story of how successful the Rangers have been. A great deal of credit for their success also falls on less-heralded players like: centers Filip Chytil and Mika Zibanejad, left-winger Chris Kreider, and defenseman who is the newly-named team captain, Jacob Trouba. Perhaps the most wonderful thing that has happened to the Rangers this year has been the play of the third line. The talented line, made up of Chytil, Alexis Lafreniére, and Kaapo Kakko have played wonderfully. The first line is also set to be improved after the Feb. 9th trade for right-winger Vladimir Tarasenko from the St. Louis Blues. With the addition of Tarasenko to the first line of Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, it seems as though their play can only get better. And, of course, any line with Artemi Panarin, a masterful passer and shooter, is going to be a lethal one, as the second line is just as strong as any. Panarin alongside Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey has proven their abilities.
With the loss of right-winger Ryan Reaves during the offseason, there were questions about how the Rangers could replace the toughness he brought to the team. Trouba was the answer. He has picked up the dirty work and has shown the heart and soul that the Rangers have desperately needed for years.
To win the Stanley Cup, the New York Rangers are going to have to show this on the ice as an overall time for the rest of the season. They are going to have to give up their bodies and show all the teams in the NHL how badly they want to win. It took fifty-four years, from 1940 to 1994, for the New York Rangers to win their first Stanley Cup. No one knows how long it will take for the Rangers to win it a second time.
Do the 2023 Rangers have enough or have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup? Do they have enough heart, soul, grit, and hunger? Can they execute and win like the Rangers teams of 1928, 1933, 1940, and 1994? Their recent victories over two great teams — the Seattle Kraken and the Carolina Hurricanes — suggests so, but only time will tell.