The Rangers entered the regular season with multiple inconveniences behind them, so the horrid start to the regular season does come with some sort of asterisk attached to the team record. With a long road trip, multiple key injuries, a bloated (but necessary) preseason roster, and a new system all to deal with it is clear to see that the Rangers are well behind the eight ball four games in.
Despite all the issues Alain Vigneault and his team has had to deal with, and despite it being four games in, there has been no sign of progress and many of the same players are making repeated mistakes. Is it too early for Alain Vigneault to make an example out of a player or two?
It just so happens that while the Rangers struggle so horribly at both ends of the rink, many Ranger prospects (deemed not ready for the NHL) are off to terrific starts to the season down in the AHL. Danny Kristo has five points in three games, seven shots, and two powerplay goals already.
Chris Kreider has three points in three games, JT Miller has already bagged three goals since his demotion, Oscar Lindberg has three assists in three games as he acclimatises to the North American rink, and Dylan McIlrath has been dishing out punishment on the blueline while chipping in unexpected offense. There are a lot of positive starts on the Wolfpack, unlike in New York.
Part of the developmental process with prospects is rewarding performance. With their promising starts, bringing up one or more of the prospects to the big club would act as a sign to the under performing NHL roster. Should Alain Vigneault consider inserting a few of the prospects? The likes of Mike Del Zotto and Taylor Pyatt (and many more) could do with a wake up call.
If teams like San Jose can consider Tomas Hertl ready and are willing to put him in a position to succeed, there’s no reason why the Rangers can’t do the same or at least try. Thankfully the Hartford Wolfpack are providing some initial excitement and positivity while the Rangers are disappointing. Its early in the season and knee jerk reactions are not the hallmark of successful franchises but Vigneault should at least consider bring up the performing prospects for both the long and short term future of the club.