by Patrick Hoffman on 09/19/09 at 12:58 PM ET
From Brad Kurtzberg at MaxHockey.com:
Top Defenseman—Marc Staal continues to get improve at the age of 21. Staal is not much of an offensive threat, but he makes a smart first pass out of his own zone and uses his 6’4”, 210-pound frame to take opponents out of the play. The best is yet to come for Staal who should be a fixture on Broadway for the next decade.
Unsung hero—Last year, Blair Betts was easily the winner in this category. Look for defenseman Dan Girardi to fit the bill this season. Girardi doesn’t score a lot of points, but he plays steady defense and knows when to step up and join the attack.
Breakout player (any position) – Ryan Callahan scored 22 goals last season for the Broadway Blueshirts. New York needs him to increase that total if they hope to score enough goals to make a run at the playoffs. Callahan has the raw talent but needs to find consistency to jump to the next level.
Divisional Finish: Fourth. A lack of offensive firepower remains the Rangers biggest problem. They still remain too dependent on Henrik Lundqvist to win low scoring games for them. If Gaborik stays healthy and the younger forwards step up and grow into top scoring roles, the Rangers have a chance. If not, it could be a long year on Broadway.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
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