Will the next New York champ please stand up?
New York is not exactly starving for a title in comparison to other cities, but its teams certainly haven’t been thriving lately. All but two teams that call New York City home haven’t won a championship in the 21st century, and one of those teams plays its home games in East Rutherford, New Jersey. So who will be the next team to parade down the Canyon of Heroes, and will it be anytime soon? Let’s rank the local squads most likely to win the city’s next championship.
1. New York Mets (Total titles: 2, Last title: 1986)
The Mets are vying for an NL East crown despite David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud missing significant chunks of the season. It also hasn’t helped that Jenrry Mejia got suspended for PED use and that Bobby Parnell and Vic Black have been MIA in the bullpen. With all the things that have gone wrong for the Mets this year, they’re due for a stretch of good luck, and good health. This team may not have a lot of playoff experience but they are built for October with their fearsome starting rotation of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon and now Noah Syndergaard. The Mets bullpen, led by fantastic new closer Jeurys Familia, continues to be one of the best in the league despite being shorthanded. The Mets are no offensive dynamo but they’ve been getting by with consistent contributions by Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores. But pitching wins championships, and the Mets have more pitching than they know what to do with. Jon Niese and Dillon Gee will be prime trade candidates come July, and whatever return GM Sandy Alderson can get for them could propel the Mets to their third World Series championship.
2. New York Rangers (Total titles: 4, Last title: 1994)
The Rangers didn’t win the Presidents’ Trophy by accident this year. Their roster is stocked with offensive talent like Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, and Derick Brassard. Kevin Hayes was a revelation as a rookie winger this year, and he stands to improve next season. Ryan McDonough will still be patrolling the blueline along with Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, and Henrik Lundqvist is still the rock the Blueshirts rely on tending goal. The Rangers have shown that they are not afraid to make bold moves to potentially improve their team; the Ryan Callahan/Martin St. Louis trade from last year looks to have backfired, but the Nash trade they made in 2012 has worked out extremely well, as has the Keith Yandle trade that took place earlier this year. If the Rangers make the right roster moves this summer and before next year’s deadline they’ll be set up nicely for another deep postseason run.
3. New York Islanders (Total titles: 4, Last title: 1983)
The Islanders profile a lot like the Stanley Cup contending Tampa Bay Lightning; full of young offensive talent (like John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Brock Nelson, among others) as well as a solid defensive squad (Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky come to mind). Both teams have a better-than-average goalie as well; the Bolts have Ben Bishop while the Islanders have Jaroslav Halak. The Islanders spent many a year being a league-wide punchline but through stockpiling young talent via the draft and making the occasional free agent acquisition (much like the Lightning did), the Islanders have a constructed a roster that will be a force to reckon with for the next few years.
4. New York Yankees (Total titles: 27, Last title: 2009)
It’s been mentioned countless times, but the Yankees are old and falling apart. Yet they continue to contend, fighting for the AL East crown despite hovering around the .500 mark. The Yankees are amongst the most aggressive teams in the league when it comes to trying to win rings, so it’s likely GM Brian Cashman will pull the trigger on a deal to fortify the Bombers roster in a few weeks. In one of the worst divisions in baseball, the Yanks could absolutely slide into the playoffs this year.
5. New York Jets (Total titles: 1, Last title: 1969)
After getting off to a great start in the Rex Ryan era, making back-to-back AFC Championship game appearances in 2009 and 2010, the Jets missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year in 2014, going 4-12. New head coach Todd Bowles inherits a respectable defense (sixth in yards allowed in 2014) but a lackluster offense (22nd in yards gained in 2014).
6. New York Giants (Total titles: 4*, Last title: 2011)
Since winning the Super Bowl in 2011, the Giants have missed the playoffs three straight years. The Giants will put on a show offensively in 2015 with Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. catching passes but they will have to overcome their shoddy defense, ranked 29th in the league last year.
7. Brooklyn Nets (No NBA titles)
Ever since Mikhail Prokhorov bought this franchise in 2010 there has been a lack of consistency, ranging from relocation to free agent comings and goings to several coaching changes. Not a recipe for success.
8. New York Knicks (Total titles: 2, Last title: 1973)
Last season was one of the worst in Knicks history, and ever since the Patrick Ewing era ended, Knicks playoff appearances have been few and far between. It’s hard to see them winning a title anytime soon as they have just begun to rebuild and the only household name they have on their roster is Carmelo Anthony.