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Off The Boards: New York Rangers thoughts


As my favorite team I’d thought I’d give the New York Rangers a feature in Off The Boards this week. Lately I’ve been busy writing my mystery novel; but I will be writing more for Off The Boards in the coming weeks.

After a weak few weeks before the All-Star-Break, the New York Rangers are back in full swing with a 7-4 win against the Montreal Canadians. In a quick recap of events: Chris Krider got a hatrick, Adam Fox had a four assist night, and Jonathan Quick leads goalies for penalty minutes.

All this being said breaking down the Rangers struggles is simple, offensively their great (besides the fact they can’t get a breakaway) but defensively– they look as if they’re trying to play offense. In no world should the Metropolitan Division Leader give up four goals agains the 22-24-8 ┬áCanadiens. If it was the Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche or any other team in a playoff spot I could see that as a feasible score. But the HAB’s have a losing record.

Breaking down the defensive problems is simple– sometimes you look at the screen and say “Why is Mika Zibanejad(F) doing more then Adam Fox(D)?” I love Adam Fox– Norris Trophy defensemen afterall, it just seems that sometimes in this era of the league offense is more of a focus than defense. That works when you’re playing another similarly minded team– but most teams at the bottom of the league tend to be better at their defense then their offense. Hence why they can’t score.

To sum up the Rangers Defense as a whole– simply put: It looks like a constant version of the all-star game– silly mistakes. Fumbling for the puck. Stupid turnovers. If the Rangers want to be an actual contender for the Stanley cup, they need to work on not counting on goal scoring abilities.

Goaltending the Rangers are great, Igor Shesterkin is coming off all-star break with a shutout, and Jonathan Quick has one of the best save percentages and goals against averages. The one problem they face isn’t really their fault. The skaters for the Rangers seem to bank on their goalies to save high-danger opportunities instead of using their defensive skills.

Offensively I’d say the one problem they face, is their lack of finishing on breakaways. To be clear: getting the breakaway is no problem, but getting the puck in the net is. I have no explanation for this problem other than possibly a lack of both practice, or even luck. Last year the team seemed to be hitting the post at every chance they got. Perfect for a crossbar challenge but not for scoring. This year the problem seems to be shooting at the goalie, or being the victim of a top ten save of the week.

The Rangers have some of the best offensive talent in the league. Artemi Panarin who is arguably the best winger in the league. Mika Zibanejad, a two way forward and current top 15 player. Will Cuylle is tied for fifth most goals among rookies. Artemi Panarin has netted two Hatricks this season.

It’s getting to the point of the year where teams decide weather they’re going to buy or sell– in terms of the trade deadline which is Wednesday, March eighth. Given the Rangers number one spot in the Metropolitan Division they will be in the market for some new acquisitions. In my opinion they need a loner deefensive defenseman, and a defensive forward to trad for the likes of Jimmy Vesey, Barclay Goodrow, or their first round pick.

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