After a bitter ending to 2016, the New York Rangers are retooled and prepared for another campaign for the Stanley Cup and it begins tonight as the Blueshirts take on the Colorado Avalanche in the first game of the 2017 season.
After their struggles last season, the Avalanche are looking to put doubters to rest with an extensive collection of young offensive talent. The Rangers’ re-tooled defense will be able to showcase their skating prowess as they try to contain the likes of Matt Duchene, Nathan Mackinnon, and the Avs’ newest offensive talent — Nail Yakupov.
Players to Watch
One of the biggest Rangers acquisitions — Kevin Shattenkirk — will be right at home… literally. After growing up as a Rangers fan the right-handed offensive D-man will get to finally show Rangers fans what many St. Louis Blues fans know he is capable of. The excitement for him on a personal level can help motivate him a bit more for this first game at Madison Square Garden.
Shattenkirk posted 56 points in 80 games last season with nearly half of those points coming on the powerplay.
Alexander Kerfoot signed as a college free-agent with Colorado during a short-lived battle during the offseason that included rumors of the Rangers also trying to sign the former New Jersey Devils draft choice. The 23-year-old exhibited incredible all-around play in the preseason and a knack for putting up points with five points in four preseason contests. He is expected to play on the Avs’ top line with Duchene and Yakupov.
Kerfoot tallied 45 points in 36 games as the Captain of Harvard last season with a plus/minus of +20.
Kreider – Zibanejad – Buchnevich
Nash – Chytil – Zuccarello
Grabner – Hayes – Miller
Vesey – Desharnais – Carey
McDonagh – Shattenkirk
Skjei – Smith
Staal – DeAngelo
Andrighetto – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Yakupov – Duchene – Kerfoot
Landeskog – Compher – Wilson
Nieto – Jost – Comeau
Barberio – Johnson
Nemeth – Barrie
Mironov – Bigras