In early September, Dom Luszczyszyn projected the Rangers to finish this season around 82 points but possibly surprise in either direction. (The Athletic)
He notes though that while the Rangers may not be good enough to be in the playoff race this season, they may not be "bad enough" to battle with Vancouver, Ottawa and Detroit for the top overall pick. (The Athletic)
Overall he has the Rangers ranked fourth from the bottom, behind Detroit, Ottawa and Vancouver.
Earlier this week, Luszczyszyn projected the Rangers to finish 28th in the NHL with 79.5 points. (The Athletic)
USA Today has the Rangers finishing last in the Metro with 72 points and behind, in the overall standings, Montreal (69 points), Detroit (67 points), Ottawa (52 points).
They have Vancouver at 76 points, Buffalo at 78 points and the Islanders and Hurricanes at 77 points.
ESPN.com has the Rangers going under 76.5 points this season.
Jeff Gorton said last week that the Rangers are going to get "better everyday and who knows where we go from there."
He added, "I don't know how good we will be. We don't know until we go through it, all we know is that we have some good players here right now and a lot of players in that room that think we are pretty good."
David Quinn said last week that the Rangers want to win "every game" and that the focus is on "making every guy a better player, making us a better team collectively and playing the way we want to play. The winning and losing will take care of itself and we feel we have enough good NHL players here to give us a chance night in and night out."
Kevin Shattenkrik said that "there's nobody in here who doesn't believe in what we have in this locker room." (Newsday)
Henrik Lundqvist said that the mindset for this season is about trying to "push it and try to get into the playoffs." (NY Post)
He added that he thinks it is a "realistic, healthy" mindset and a "good challenge for this group." (NY Post)
Jesper Fast said that the players know what is being said about them and that they want to "prove everyone wrong." (NY Post)
Marc Staal says that the lack of expectations for this season could have a "feeing effect" on some players and that when he looks around the room he sees "talented, hard-working guys" that shouldn't feel as if they are "less than other teams." (NY Post)
Kevin Shattenkirk says that the Rangers defensive system this year features "layers" and that if one guy gets beat then the remaining players should be able to compensate for that. (NY Post)
In comparing it to how they defended under Alain Vigneault, Shattenkirk said that the Rangers focused on trying to outnumber the opposition and that left them exposed at times. (NY Post)
Henrik Lundqvist said that it's not about one system being "good or bad" but whether the team has the right guys to play that system. (NY Post)
He said that the system under Vigneault worked when the Rangers were winning battles, but that it led to a lot of confusion when they didn't. (NY Post)
Lundqvist said that there is a bigger focus on the middle of the ice and defenders being in front of the net. (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: This is the start of a new era for the Rangers and one where we are hopefully seeing the early stages of a fast, young, skilled, hard working and exciting hockey team. Progress and player development are the keys for this season and the standings kind of take a back seat. This year is about building structure, trust and creating the foundation for David Quinn's team. Making the playoffs would be great, but unlike past years, how the Rangers would make the playoffs matters.
Making the playoffs on the back of a Vezina winning season from Henrik Lundqvist, where he covers up a bunch of issues and carries a flawed/stagnant team would be talked up as a positive but would probably be a negative. If Henrik is a bit up and down but Kreider, Zibanejad and Buchnevich all take a big step, Chytil, and when he gets called up, Andersson are in the mix for the Calder and most importantly, they get better from month to month but don't make the playoffs, that may be a more successful season. This year is all about building and taking a step toward making moves next summer to put the Rangers back in the playoffs and back on the road to contending.