The New York Rangers are nearly halfway through the 2017 18 season and are currently in a playoff spot? How the hell did we get here? Here are some thoughts on the team and the league.
Back on October 30th if I told you the Rangers would go 17 5 1 in their next 23 games and find themselves four points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division, you’d say I was nuts. But, here we are…
The best part about all of this is that the Penguins currently rank in 7th place in the division. The goaltending has been shaky and they have absolutely no bottom six depth. It’s a beautiful day.
But please, someone explain to me how the Rangers rank 17th in Yahoo’s power rankings.
I am so sick of hearing all this “trade Michael Grabner” talk. Yes, I understand that he is scoring with an unsustainable shooting of 23.6 percent. Yes https://www.rangersnyfans.com/blank-jersey-c-25.html, I know that six of his 17 goals have been empty netters –which undoubtedly raises his shooting percentage to that overly inflated number. But even if Grabner isn’t scoring at the same clip, his footspeed is dangerous.
The Rangers should re sign Grabner in the offseason. Is he gonna get a pay raise? Definitely. We can talk about what that might look like another time, but I’m all for bringing him back after the season.
I have to admit, I was very annoyed with Alain Vigneault‘s decision to scratch Boo Nieves for David Desharnais. AV proved that a broken clock is right twice a day because Desharnais played very well in Tuesday night’s game against the Ducks. Desharnais has played well recently as he has notched four assists in four games.
I still think the Rangers should make a deal for a third line center. With that said, I feel a lot better about our center depth when he produces.
One guy who has played well that nobody really acknowledges is Paul Carey. His Corsi For percentage is 43.5 percent at even strength according to Hockey Reference. That is pretty bad, yes, but 55 percent of his shifts start in the defensive zone and he is on a poor puck possession team, to begin with.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the Rangers’ fourth line has been their most consistent line outside of KZB. Paul Carey has been the one mainstay on that line who has never moved up or down the lineup. While we can’t give him all the credit for the line’s success, he’s been a big contributor. After all, he’s on pace for 15 goals and 11 assists this year. I think you’d take 26 points from a fourth liner any day of the week.
On to a player who hasn’t impressed me, Rick Nash has been snakebitten for what https://www.rangersnyfans.com/customize-jersey-c-24.html, three years now? You know what we call a player who continues to get great chance after great chance and can’t capitalize? Average.
He’s a fantastic defensive player, but he was brought in to be a big time goal scorer. At this point in his career, Nash is a middle six winger who averages close to 20 goals a season and is trusted to play defensive minutes. That’s fine for a player who isn’t supposed to be one of your top scoring forwards. Unfortunately, that’s not how this roster was built.
If the Rangers are in the playoff race come mid February, unless he’d be included in a package for a goal scorer, there is no Chris Kreider Jersey point in trading him. Use him for the playoff run and let him walk in the offseason unless he’s willing to come back on a 4 million a year contract or less.
Another guy who frustrates the hell out of me is Jimmy Vesey. For a guy with so much hype surrounding him coming into last season, he looks like nothing more than a third line winger to me. I’d love to see the Rangers try to flip him at the deadline whether it be in a package for a top six center or for a draft pick. I may be alone in this boat but so be it.
I will say this though I have felt for a long while like the Rangers have a ton of guys without personalities. This partially because of how bad the NHL markets its players I suspect. Regardless, the trio of Vesey, Kevin Hayes, and Brady Skjei definitely have some personality. If you haven’t watched NBCSN’s “Road to the Winter Classic” yet, I highly recommend it.
I really don’t understand what is going on with Brendan Smith. One game he looks pretty solid overall and the next he takes stupid penalties and has major defensive lapses. The last thing New York needs is another albatross contract tied to a defenseman. Hopefully, he turns it around.
There was a really interesting ESPN hockey article –yes https://www.rangersnyfans.com/pavel-buchnevich-jersey-c-23.html, you read that right– I saw yesterday.A number of players from around the league were asked who the NHL’s most underrated player was. While a lot of players answered Aleksander Barkov, Mark Stone, and even Oliver Ekman Larsson, one anonymous player responded J.T. Miller. I thought that was very telling.
The NHL approved the Islanders’ bid to build a new arena in Belmont Park. It’s gonna be the Islanders third arena in this decade to not be able to sell over 14 ,000 tickets to a game.
As our own Scott Austin pointed out, the Islanders new arena render has a sell out crowd pictured. Look at the team they are playing in it, though.
That’s more realistic…
It’s great for the sport that the Rangers and Devils rivalry means something again. Tonight’s game could create yet another huge four point swing.