A strong, prolonged period of results was slightly tarnished with the sloppy, unnecessary loss to the Devils earlier this week. Sloppy goals, defensive lapses and a lack of finish had many reminding us of the early season edition of the Rangers. With games against the Canadiens and Kings on the weekend it’s a big couple of days for the Rangers. On to the musings
Generally speaking, the Rangers have played well in recent games and this has highlighted the contributions from the youth on the roster such as Chris Kreider. With the Wolf Packing doing pretty well too, it makes the Rangers prospect ranking of 27th on Hockey’s Future (if you buy into that kind of thing) pretty farcical.
Danny Kristo, JT Miller, Jesper Fast, Kreider (still not classed as ‘graduated’), Dylan McIlrath, Oscar Lindberg and ‘Boo’ Nieves highlight a pretty talented pool if you ask me. There’s a ton of NHL upside in the Rangers system and the best part is none of it needs to be rushed. The only area of real concern (in my humble opinion) is in goal.
The injury to Steven Stamkos is a massive loss to the Lightning. It will be interesting to see if they can respond as well as the Rangers did when losing Rick Nash. Nash’s absence, by and large has been managed well by the Rangers who will be much stronger for being able to deal with the absence of their best forward.
I may be in the minority but I feel I have seen an improvement in Michael Del Zotto after his horrid start to the season. That said, he’ll need to do much more for the remainder of the year to justify management keeping him on the Rangers. If Conor Allen develops well and Dylan McIlrath (albeit a vastly different type of player) develop this season, next year there could be a big decision looming for management. Does MDZ become a moveable asset?
Taylor Pyatt: 16 games, 1 assist, -8, 20 shots, 13+ minutes per game. Injury or no injury, Pyatt is lucky that there are still a handful of forwards on shakier ground than he is.
JT Miller is really becoming a dilemma. On the one hand, the NHL is the best learning ground of all. On the other, his lack of ice time is a growing concern. He is really inconsistent, not from game to game but from shift to shift.
I’m surprised John Moore’s improving play hasn’t turned into more points than his current total of two. I think he’s gotten much better as the season has progressed. Good decision making, better positionally.
The best Ranger no one talks about: Brian Boyle. He’ll never score 20 goals again but he’s doing his role very well. Many (myself included) thought he was in danger of losing his spot in preseason but he’s been consistent and was possibly the best Ranger forward – Brad Richards aside – during the horrible start to the season. Quietly he’s on pace for close to 30 points.
Closing thought for the day: Given the Norris trophy calibre play of Ryan McDonagh, the presence of Marc Staal and Del Zotto, Moore and Stralman all in the mix, if a package involving Dan Girardi could net an impact (offensive) rental at the deadline, would you do it?
- Who will finish the Ranger’s top goal scorer?
- Will the Rangers have any award nominees coming regular season end?
- More points: Stepan or Richards?
- Who should be next in line from Hartford?
- Early draft talk: Assuming a mid-20’s 1st round pick; what is your early instinct to do with the first rounder?