He sets the tone with his hustle and effort and leads with his desire and (growing) offensive ability, but do the Rangers rely too much on Ryan Callahan? It’s a worthwhile question, because during a period in which Callahan had been at his most ordinary (in a stretch prior to the Boston game) the Rangers went through their roughest patch since the start of the season. Coincidence?
Callahan has developed offensively to a point where he now literally does everything for the Rangers. He’s the team’s second most prolific goal scorer, he’s annually a league leader in hits, blocks countless of shots and plays in every single situation. We saw last year, when Callahan went down for an extended period of time, just how much the Rangers missed him. What is the remedy to the over reliance? Other players need to step up.
After a promising start to the campaign, more often than not Brad Richards has been a passenger. That is unacceptable for a man brought in to help lead the team to bigger things. Derek Stepan has cooled off considerably but, in all fairness, it’s too early to place too much pressure on the young sophomore. Brandon Dubinsky has been better but is clearly not the player this team needs him to be and then there are players such as Fedotenko and Brian Boyle who leave it all on the ice but at some point that is not enough. Anisimov? MIA.
It’s hard to be overly critical of a team that has the record the Rangers boast, however such is that record that the focus naturally switches to post-April potential. This Rangers team, without a better spread of production, cannot beat Boston over an extended series. If the Pens get healthy there’s a likelihood the Rangers struggle with their rivals in Pittsburgh as well.
With all due respect, when a solid journeyman like John Mitchell is one of your better players of late (3 points in 5) and you’re expecting too much from a talented but still rookie Carl Hagelin there’s an issue. If teams are able to shut down Marian Gaborik and then Ryan Callahan as well, Henrik Lundqvist has to be brilliant. It’s a good job he is just that.
Captain Cally is playing close to 21 minutes per game and given his style and reckless endeavour that’s possibly too much. Whether it’s through a transaction or changes in the line up several Rangers need to be better offensively. Not previously known for his offense (in the first instance) it may be a bad sign that the team is needing to rely on its heart and soul leader to score the big goals.