September is almost upon us, which means that we are getting closer and closer to hockey season. The Rangers didn’t make any major overhauls this offseason, so what you saw last year is pretty much the same team you will get this year. Some much-needed depth was added, which absolutely makes this team better, but the personnel essentially remained untouched. That said, those new additions had a bit of a ripple effect on the special teams, and we could see some new faces on the penalty kill.
Last season Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, Darroll Powe, and Brian Boyle received the majority of the penalty kill time, playing over 1.5 minutes/60 down a man (courtesy of BTN). That ripple effect mentioned above was in reference to Powe, who might not be dressing on a nightly basis. With one of their top-three PKers gone, Boyle will obviously move up to fill Powe’s role. There are two options for that fourth penalty killer: Carl Hagelin (the obvious choice), or Derek Dorsett (who played 1.78 minutes/60 on the PK with Columbus before his injury).
Naturally, the focus is going to be towards Hagelin, since he is the known quantity who can create turnovers and shorthanded chances. However, Dorsett’s TOI can’t be ignored. If there is one stat that you should be familiar with, it’s TOI. TOI represents trust in a player in a specific situation. Dorsett was the #3 PK forward for the Blue Jackets, behind Brandon Dubinsky and Mark Letestu. Also remember that the CBJ penalty kill (82.6%) was better than the NYR penalty kill (81.1%) last season.
This is a pretty fantastic problem to have. The Rangers will likely have one of their top-three penalty killers sitting in the press box a lot next season, but they won’t miss a beat while down a man. They have two viable replacements, meaning Rick Nash can get some rest as the #6 penalty killing forward. Depth is a wonderful thing.