As the Rangers prepare for their first on-ice training camp sessions on Monday, here are four outstanding issues confronting the club:
The pipeline is overflowing with prospects who include K’Andre Miller, Libor Hajek, Tarmo Reunanen, Yegor Rykov, Matt Robertson and Zac Jones, which is all well and good. But camp commences with Ryan Lindgren, a veteran of all of 65 games, penciled in on the top pair, followed by veterans Brendan Smith and Jack Johnson (unless any of the first three aforementioned youngsters are ready). See the issue?
Skill abounds through the top six and even onto the third line, but do the Rangers have enough straight-line grinding ability and muscle to survive, yet alone thrive, through this meat-grinder of a division and schedule?
Fourth & goal
Will the Rangers, for the first time under David Quinn, have a defined fourth line entrusted with a defined role, or will the unit simply be a repository for leftovers? Is Brett Howden a candidate for third-line wing or fourth-line center, with the same question applied to Morgan Barron.
The Blueshirts essentially moved on from Henrik Lundqvist nearly a full calendar year ago, but the fact is that the team is entering its first camp/season without the King since 2004.
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