3 Rangers With The Most To Prove In 2023-24

The New York Rangers fell short of expectations last season as they loaded up at the trade deadline, had a good team, but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. They have made a few changes to their team and expect to go into this season on a better note and push further into the playoffs once again. In 2023-24, there are three players in particular on the team with the most to prove after last season and the way their careers are going.

Alexis Lafreniere

Alexis Lafreniere still has lots of potential as a former first round pick, but unlike some of the other players already in his draft and first rounders before him, he hasn't had as good of an opportunity to to really get to a higher level or break out yet. He ended last season with 16 goals and 39 points and after the Rangers signed Blake Wheeler, it appears as though Lafreniere will be stuck on the third line again. Without a contract yet, the two sides are likely going to land on a bridge deal, meaning Lafreniere will need to show significant strides in a short period of time.

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick had quite a ride last season as he started on the Los Angeles Kings, struggled mightily, and was eventually traded to the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup without playing a playoff game. His numbers dropped off significantly from where they were at in 2021-22, but regardless, the Rangers took a chance on another veteran goalie to back up Igor Shesterkin. Quick will have to prove he can at least handle the games in which he does play. If he doesn't, it likely means retirement after the season.

Zach Jones

The Rangers were hoping that young defenseman Zach Jones would step up last season and fill the hole on the third pairing. That wasn't the case despite a fair shot at taking the position. Instead, Ben Harpur played the majority of the games in that role, the team acquired Niko Mikkola at the trade deadline to upgrade that spot, and in free agency, Erik Gustafsson was just brought in. Jones will likely start the season as the seventh defenseman and does have a newly signed two-year deal, so the Rangers are giving him that amount of time to prove himself.

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