NYC sports in 2018: Manning, Stanton and Callaway among stories to watch

Henrik Lundqvist  of the New York Rangers  will be 36 years old in March. How might age  impact his future in NYC if the Blueshirts come up short again?
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers will be 36 years old in March. How might age impact his future in NYC if the Blueshirts come up short again? Photo Credit: Santiago Paredes

This year was a topsy-turvy one in New York sports.

The Yankees were surprisingly good — the Giants surprisingly bad. And the Jets? Well, they were the Jets.

What happens in 2018 is anybody’s guess. But here are five storylines to watch:

How will Giancarlo Stanton fit in with the Bombers?

The California native has a history of putting up big numbers in South Florida, where the Marlins have been mired in mediocrity, playing in front of sparse crowds for years. However, now the slugger will need to produce in the bright lights of New York, in front of a packed Yankee Stadium, night after night. Yes, the short porches seem perfect for Stanton’s power bat, but can he handle the heat of a pennant race, not to mention the Red Sox pitching?

Will any of the New York area’s NHL and/or NBA teams contend for a title this spring?

As 2017 comes to a close, all three local hockey teams — the Rangers, Islanders and Devils — are in playoff contention, and the two hoops franchises — the Knicks and the Nets — are surprisingly competitive. But are any of them poised for a parade up the “Canyon of Heroes”? It seems unlikely. Of the five, the Rangers are arguably under the most pressure, given that franchise goalie Henrik Lundqvist isn’t getting any younger (he’ll be 36 in March). If the Blueshirts come up short again, don’t be surprised if trade rumors begin to swirl around the Swedish netminder.

Will the Jets take a quarterback in April’s NFL Draft?

Veteran journeyman Josh McCown was clearly a quick fix and — much to the chagrin of Gang Green fans — neither Bryce Petty nor Christian Hackenberg has been given much of a chance to earn the starting signal-caller spot. So will the Jets look to select a franchise cornerstone QB in the draft? After seemingly entering the season in “Suck for Sam” (as in USC QB Darnold) mode, New York was surprisingly competitive in the AFC East. As usual, things concerning this franchise are hard to figure.

Do the Mets have a plan?

Speaking of mysteries, what exactly does the baseball team in Queens have in mind for 2018, and, more importantly, beyond. While the Yankees are making headlines, the Mets are quietly extending GM Sandy Alderson’s contract. While going with a novice skipper in Mickey Callaway screams “youth movement,” the Amazins’ roster doesn’t. Most Mets fans already have written off 2018, but what they won’t stand for is a rudderless ship. Alderson et al will need to provide evidence that they have a long-term blueprint in place.

Where will Eli Manning be in 2018?

The Giants’ QB turns 37 in January, and while he was the sentimental favorite of Big Blue backers this season, he is clearly not part of the franchise’s future. So, will the new GM/coach regime look to cut ties next year? If they do, they’ll need to handle it a bit better than Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo did.

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