It’s been a while since I’ve written the musings, so I’m taking the opportunity to do that today. Have to admit, they are some of my favorite posts to write.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve noticed that I’ve been pretty hard on Dan Girardi lately. He’s certainly had a lot of trouble adjusting this season. It is probably just a bad year for the defenseman, or at least a bad quarter season. These things happen, but there were signs this could happen before. One of the big thing is that Girardi constantly leaves his feet to play defense, instead of taking the angle and using his body to create better positioning. That’s something that needs to be fixed. He hasn’t lost a step, but the best forwards –forwards he plays against night in and night out– have caught on to this.
Girardi isn’t the only one who is struggling either. Michael Del Zotto is struggling. John Moore has had issues. Justin Falk is showing why he came a bit on the cheaper end on the trade market. If not for Anton Stralman, Marc Staal, and Ryan McDonagh, this team would have a lot of questions on the blue line.
A lot of people are pointing out that the Rangers have scored just twice in three games, both on the powerplay, and are pointing to a need for a scorer. The thing is, the Rangers haven’t really been playing poorly, they have just hit a string of bad luck. They hit three hot goalies in a row, and appear to be a bit snake bitten. But let’s not forget that the Rangers scored 21 goals in the 6 games prior. That’s over three goals per game.
The things I look at when I see scoring woes are PDO (SH% + SV%) and puck possession (CF%/FF%). PDO measure puck luck, and generally regresses to 100. Right now the Rangers are at 96.3 with what could be called “league average” goaltending. Basically, it means that they are going to eventually begin shooting better, and the SH% will eventually even out. However, that means nothing if the Rangers aren’t maintaining puck possession and generating chances. Aside from the game against the Kings, the Rangers have been dominating puck possession.
What does all that mean? Well, New York is in the upper half of the NHL in puck possession, and are one of the top teams in the East as well. Eventually, these chances will start hitting twine. When that happens, watch out.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the MDZ trade rumors. Chris discussed them in detail this morning, and Suit did the same two weeks ago. They have provided different views on the situation (hey, we can’t always agree). One thing that everyone agrees on: If a trade happens, it will be a move to improve this team for a Cup run. The big needs are a right handed shot on defense and a 3RW (preferably a righty as well). Del Zotto is a big trade chip that can probably net that return, but it’s too early to gauge that market. Plus, if MDZ improves his game, it’s less likely he will be dealt.