At this point in the season, the NYR are likely out of the playoff race, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the entire season has been a moot point.
Offense // Grade: B
Here, many of the individual players look good. Strome and Zibanejad are producing well, and Artemiy Panarin alone deserves an A+. When the Rangers’ offense plays cohesively, they look dangerous, competitive, and are capable of dominating a game. However, they don’t always play this way, or can’t sustain that level of effort for the full 60 minutes. And when they don’t, the team struggles.
The Rangers have also had a bit of trouble entering the zone, getting shots on goal, and sustaining pressure in the offensive zone. If it were earlier in the season these kinds of struggles might be a bit more permissible, but it’s a little concerning that we’re this far into the season and the Rangers don’t seem to be improving or making that connection with the system Quinn has them playing.
Defense // Grade: D+ (singling Lindy Ruff out for an individual F, and bring the overall score down)
There’s not much great to say about this area outside of bright spots like Fox and DeAngelo who have both been coming into their own this season. The Rangers get outshot in almost every game and the defense lets in a lot of soft shots they should be able to prevent, making the goalie pick up a lot of their slack. It also looks bad that pretty much everyone who has recently left our defensive system immediately starts playing better.
Take a look at Shattenkirk, Graves, and Pionk who all struggled with the Rangers. Shattenkirk is on pace for a 45 point season with the lightning, Pionk is playing much better in Winnipeg, and Graves—who was basically given away for free—was leading the league in plus/minus at one point. And when you take into account that the Rangers’ new defensive arrivals like Trouba—and Shattenkirk during his brief tenure—start playing worse, it seems like the problem is with the defensive system and coaching, not the players.
Special Teams // Grade: B-; Penalty Kill // Grade: C+
Both the Rangers’ powerplay and their penalty kill have been up and down over the season. They are currently ranked 9th and 22nd in the league, respectively. The power play has been improving a lot recently, especially from where it was earlier in the season. And when it was struggling, the PP seems to have suffered more from some baffling choices—such as all lefty/righty units—than from lack of talent or ability on the players’ end.
The penalty kill has been constantly mediocre to bad, likely due to the Rangers not really having a solid or consistent PK unit. This issue seems less like an issue with the coaching, and more like the Rangers don’t really have enough players for two solid PK units right now.
Netminding // Grade: A
The Rangers’ three-goalie problem is a pretty good one to have, especially when those three goalies are Lundqvist, Georgiev, and Shestyorkin. All three of them have had excellent seasons so far, and Shestyorkin has shown a lot of promise even though he’s only played 3 games right now.
The goaltending has been compensating for many of the Rangers’ defensive lapses and has kept them in many games this season. Add to the fact that Allaire is a great coach, and the Rangers’ netminding has been one of the most stable and consistent parts of the team this year.
Development // Grade: B+
The development of rookies and prospects has been mostly positive, with some obvious bumps in the road like the Lias Andersson situation. So far, DeAngelo, Chytil, Lemieux, and Lindgren have all shown good development and have taken noticeable steps to improve their game while playing with the Rangers.
On the other hand, Hajek hasn’t looked like he’s made a lot of progress, and while it’s still a bit too early to start passing firm judgments on Kakko’s development, he hasn’t looked as solid as you would want a star rookie to look in his first season.
Overall the “hits” in this system have so far outweighed the “misses,” a trend that hopefully continues with the new talent coming up the pipeline
Featured Image : Jared Silber/NHLI