Ryan Reaves didn’t flinch when asked what he expects from his new Rangers team heading into a new season.
“Stanley Cup,” Reaves said when speaking with reporters on Friday. “I wouldn’t have come here if there weren’t. this team has built a lot of good, young, talented players through draft picks. They’ve got a really good, young team here. This year, we’ve added some grit, we’ve added a little bit of that grind that balances the team out well.”
Reaves is certainly part of that grit, part of New York’s new initiative to load up on toughness after that aspect of the team’s identity was questioned throughout last season. That especially came under the microscope when Tom Wilson took aim at Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich in the span of one week down the stretch of last season, which undoubtedly led to the Rangers bringing in an enforcer like Reaves to maintain order.
“When something happens on the ice, I’m always gonna stick up for a teammate,” Reaves said. “When we got to get loud on the bench or get loud on the ice, I’m going to be the first guy to chirp somebody and give them a facewash or whatever it has to be to get the boys going.”
The 34-year-old Reaves was brought in for a third-round pick by new general manager Chris Drury, unquestionably to provide the otherwise youthful Rangers with some much-needed physicality. But Reaves isn’t just here to drop gloves with Wilson or any other remaining enforcers of that endangered species. Reaves wants to win, and