The 2023-24 NHL season for the New York Rangers begins tonight as they take on the Buffalo Sabres. This season is a significant one for the Blueshirts, with high expectations. Before this game commences, there are a few bold predictions that many people have made for the upcoming season.
3. Brennan Othmann will be the first AHL call-up for the New York Rangers this season
Will Cuylle and Brennan Othmann were two standout performers for the Rangers in the preseason. Both were competing for the final roster spot on the NHL roster, but Cuylle secured the role and even received the Lars-Erik Sjoberg award. However, it’s not a matter of if, but when Othmann gets called up, as he has made a significant impression this preseason.
Not only is he likely to get called up, but Othmann may have the opportunity to become the first AHL player this season to join the NHL roster. This is not only because fans want to see him play, and he could be a solid merchandise seller for the Rangers, but he also has the potential to make valuable contributions to the second or third line when injuries occur.
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2. Kappo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere will finally shine
There have been many analysts and fans who haven’t been pleased with how both Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko have performed since being drafted. However, the 2023/24 NHL Season will finally be the year when both Kakko and Lafreniere impress and live up to the expectations placed on them upon entering the league.
Coaching matters in most sports, especially in hockey. A coaching change from Gerard Gallant to Peter Laviolette is poised to greatly benefit both players. Kakko has already displayed the potential to perform well, showing solidity in the preseason and moments of brilliance. While Lafreniere may not have been as impressive, he had more bright spots in the preseason than he did in the previous regular season.
Along with the adjusted line movement, both Kakko and Lafreniere should perform well. Both should stay healthy and have a strong season this year
1. Igor Shesterkin will once again win the Vezina Trophy, win 45 games, and sign the Largest Contract for a Goaltender in NHL History midseason.
Igor Shesterkin is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL and is the most important player on the New York Rangers. He will yet again have a phenomenal season, with a projected 45-win season, and is a strong candidate to win the Vezina Trophy. Shesterkin is now the favorite for the award, especially with Andrei Vasilevskiy dealing with a back injury and recently being placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR).
With another strong season, the Rangers will likely prioritize extending Shesterkin’s contract. While his current contract has two years left, the team will aim to secure him with a long-term extension midseason. Not only will he be extended, but he will get the largest contract for a goaltender in NHL history.