New York Rangers second line center job up for grabs

Brett Howden, New York Rangers. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Brett Howden, New York Rangers. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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New York Rangers
Lias Andersson, New York Rangers (l). (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers have many young talented pivots. One of them will have to step up and center the team’s second line in 2019-20.

Depending on how you look at it, the New York Rangers center position behind Mika Zibanejad is either hopeful or bleak. It’s hopeful in the fact that there are four young centers with lots of talent fighting for jobs. At the same time, it’s bleak because none of the four have stepped up to make a statement yet.

The strength of the Blueshirts offense is on the wing. Recent free-agent acquisition Artemi Panarin has been in the NHL for four seasons and has fluctuated between 74-87 points with an 80 points per season average. Kaapo Kakko was selected second overall in the 2019 draft by the New York Rangers has proved he can produce against professionals in international play, despite being 18-years-old.

The new wings join Pavel Buchnevich, who set a personal high with 21 goals last season as well as veteran power forward Chris Kreider. Additionally, the teams 2018 first-round pick Vitali Kravtsov, has made the jump to North America from the KHL. All indications are that he can be a dynamic National Hockey League player and has a good shot to make the team this season.

For all those talented wingers to be successful they need a good man in the pivot. It looks like Panarin will play on Zbad’s left. The competition for rightwing on the top line will be an interesting one between Buchnevich and Kakko (maybe even Kravtsov), but that’s another article.

The winner of the center battle will likely wind up playing between Kreider and either Buchnevich or Kakko. That’s certainly some good talent to play with.