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Musings: Girardi’s struggles, scoring woes, trade targets

Photo: McIsaac/Getty

Photo: McIsaac/Getty

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.

Question time:

  • Are you worried about the past three games?
  • At what point do you think J.T. Miller should be returned to Hartford?
  • If you had a choice, would you put Taylor Pyatt or Benoit Pouliot in the lineup? Must choose one.
  • Predictions for this five game road trip?

31 Responses to “Musings: Girardi’s struggles, scoring woes, trade targets”

  1. Kevin says:

    1. Not at all. I think they’ve played very well, actually.
    2. 2 weeks ago.
    3. Pouliot. He’s a tease, but when he’s on, he’s effective.
    4. With the way this season has gone, I’m afraid to guess.

  2. RangerSmurf says:

    1) If I didn’t worry about the California trip, certainly not starting now.

    2) After this road trip.

    3) Pouliot. He is what he is, but at least he can skate with the rest of the lineup.

    4) I’ll go bold, they go 4-1, pucks start finding the net. They’ve got some tough goalies on the trip, but this 5% shooting stuff won’t last forever.

  3. Evan M says:

    •Not worried so much. At least it’s better than the first string of games, but they need to capitalize on their chances and cut Hank a break. We can’t rely on shutting out the other team in order to win. Finish!
    •He should go now and get some minutes and further seasoning in the AHL. Unless he’s played a little more and shows that he deserves the time. Everyone has rough patches, but he needs to show they’re not the norm.
    •Pyatt if healthy. I just can’t stand Pouliot and I don’t feel he adds more than he takes away. Careless hockey.
    •With DZ and JT coming back in with a fire, we’ll see some hungry garbage goals and score, 4-1

  4. Easyguy says:

    Let me start by saying that girardi is here for a different reason then goals. Girardi will help on the score board in very different way. Girardi is a shutdown defender. He’s a stay at home d man who relies on his vision hockey sense and ability to read plays and cut the ice. He does not repent on foot speed because well he’s very slow. Dan girardis positioning game in game out is outstanding. He’s smart with the puck doesn’t panic and hits like a train not only that but he takes many hits to make the outlet pass. Everything he does defensively completely over shines his lack of production and that’s not to say he can’t help there he has a very big accurate shot from the point. He will chip in around 4-7 goals a year and about 30-35 points. Those aren’t bad numbers considering that he plays strictly shutdown mins and usually keeps the games best off the score sheet. Staal girardi mcdonagh stralman and hank and the emergence of talbot and his ability to get wins against weaker teams is a pretty darn good core for you back end. Throw the safe play of falk and Moore in our back end is pretty darn good. I would say best in the league are problem isn’t keeping pucks out it’s putting pucks in and that’s where delzottos contributions come in to play he’s young has had impressive seasons in the past and has a high potential ceiling who may do good from a change of teams. That should get you along with pouliot and miller a ott and moulson let falk play call up Bickel or Allen throw moulson and ott into the mix the line combos are endless

    • Chris F says:

      You maybe should have read beyond the headline. The post wasn’t about Girardi’s lack of offense. It was about his overall struggles AND the team’s general scoring woes.

    • Dave says:

      Title =/= post. Please read.

  5. Mikeyyy says:

    No
    Now
    Pouliot, can’t teach foot speed
    4-1 kreider is due for some big games and nash only gets better

  6. Tim B says:

    Can they please trade Pyatt for feds? If feds can be effective like he was with the Rangers than the team will get deeper. Is Feds still with the flyers or did he retire or something?

    • TxRanger says:

      he’s in the khl getting more money than he’d get here and he is at home. he’d never come back here.

  7. Chris F says:

    Dave,

    Thoughts on Michael Stone as a possible RH D to target?

    • Dave says:

      I don’t know much about him, but his metrics aren’t that impressive.

      Plus, PHX has OEL and Yandle, no need for MDZ.

  8. Lewis Rosengarten says:

    1. I am worried. I don’t think shooting is merely a matter of luck. The Rangers have only one proven 30 goal scorer in the lineup. They just are not accurate shooters. There is a reason why some guys score tons of goals year after year and some not; it isn’t merely luck.
    2.3. I’d play Miller over both Ps.
    4. They have a good shot at least at taking the first 2.

    • SalMerc says:

      Agreed

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Do you think Ovechkin’s goal scoring is a factor of his accuracy, or that he launches 400+ shots on net every year?

      How about Nash, replacing 40/400 with 30/300?

      Yes, there’s an element to skill in shooting, which is why not everyone’s shooting% is the same. Stamkos is a 17% shooter, Shawn Thornton is a 5%.

      But aside from Kreider, the whole team has been in the league a few years now. They’ve established a talent level vis a vis shooting percentage. Except for Callahan, Hagelin, and Brassard, they’re all considerably below that established level.

      Some guys just have really unlucky years (see Higgins, Chris), but it’s extremely unlikely the whole team forgot how to shoot this year.

  9. Bloomer says:

    1. Yes I am worried, the teams performance thus far this year is mediocre and not as good as last year.

    2. If AV is not going to use Miller send him back to the pack now.

    3. I don’t care for either player in the lineup, the team would be better served with a young prospect on the 3rd line.

    4. 2 wins 3 loses, a loss tonight against Dallas.

  10. Melissa says:

    1. No…but I did miss two of them lol.
    2. Yesterday but he won’t be sent down till Pyatt gets healthy because they want an extra forward around, especially for the roadtrip.
    3. Pyatt but I’m sure I’m in the minority on that one. I just think he takes less stupid penalties (and still believe he has more to offer than we’ve seen).
    4. No clue what to expect from this team. I’d be happy if they could pull 3-1-1 (split west games, split Florida games and yes I’m giving them a win in Boston…Rask can’t stone them twice in same month).

    Question for you – do you think Girardi turns it around or is this going to be an off year for him? (Maybe contract affecting him since we’re using it for everyone else lol)

    • Dave says:

      I think he grew up in a collapsing, shot blocking system, and he is having trouble adjusting.

      Hit foot work isn’t the best out there, which is why he may be struggling. I think he turns it around, but it may affect his contract.

      • Jeff says:

        I dont think its the system with Girardi, they’re still blocking and collapsing. Thought you actually posted that the other day?

        I think the contract could be affecting him big time.

  11. Centerman21 says:

    -The Rangers have had the puck for the last 3 games now. Just isn’t going in. Not to worry
    -IMO Miller should already be in Hartford. No reason for a 20 year old kid to be a scratch.
    -Pouliot because he usually doesn’t hurt the team when he’s not scoring. Pyatt takes PIM in Ozone
    -3-1-1 we finally get a game to a SO on this road trip!

  12. Brendan says:

    1) not worried, power play much better than past. can’t complain about team defense either
    2) agree with smurf, after road trip and see if he is needed or not
    3) Pyatt. Don’t like the idea of a bad 2nd liner playing a 3rd line role. Sorry Benoit Toilet.
    4) I predict a MUCH better road trip than what happened at start of season, but only going 2-2-1 with 1 of the wins coming from the first shootout of the year.

  13. Gary says:

    1) No.

    2) ASAP, I want him grizzled and ready for the PO’s as a potential new wrinkle in the game plan.

    3) I hate that I am saying this, but Pouliot. Just because he can skate.

    4) 3-2

  14. Walt says:

    Let’s address the team scoring, it can’t, and won’t continue to be this poor for the rest of the season. The team has had to make adjustments all season long due to injuries, and then re-injuries. This will settle down, soon I hope, and we will indeed see twine getting hit big time!

    Dan Gerardi hasn’t been as effective as in the past, more due to the new system than not. I’m not ready to shut the door on Dan, he fills his role very well on this team, SHUT DOWN GUY!!!

    Am I worried, not really, we now for the first time this season, have all our players off of the IR list, excluding Pyatt, and everyone knows how I feel about the diesel.

    Should Miller be sent down-NO WAY. How about giving him the same lead way that has been given Pyatt, and Pouliot. After you do that, and he doesn’t perform, then send him down. The kid should be on the 3rd line, not the 4th!

    Pouliot Vs Pyatt, six in one, half a dozen in the other. Bottom line, they are not doing squat, so send one of them to the AHL, maybe Pyatt. Push turns to shove, I’d hold my nose and say Pouliot.

    Up coming road trip, the team will go either 3-1-1, or 3-2. But I do believe they will get more scoring from the team accross the board!

  15. Frank Cerbone says:

    How come no one mentions ICorsi stats as of yesterday? They show Girardi with ICorsi LOWEST ratings per 60 min BY FAR for all Ranger defensemen and Girardi is not even close to 4th (Stralman) and 5th (Staal). MDZ is 3rd, McDonough has highest ICorsi of Ranger defensemen, John Moore 2nd. Geez, MDZ 3rd, and he’s been benched after MOST of injured players came back. So MDZ played when Stepan, Nash, Hagelin, & Callahan. Did anyone realistically expect MDZ to have superior stats with 4 of Ranger top 6 forwards missing? Staal & Girardi have been playing & never benched & have worst Ranger defensemen +/- & 60 min ICorsi stats.
    INTERESTING. I know let’s plame & bench Hagelin & his 4 goals in 11 gms & tem high +/-. It’s hagelin’s fault. If not, let’s blame Brad Park.

  16. Craig says:

    Girardi was never a scorer so now we expect him to get a lot of points. That’s never been his style. He is a shut down defenseman who does lack toughness but is solid.
    I am concerned about how the Rangers cannot finish a play and hardly ever plant themselves in front of the opposing net (except Callihan)
    This reveals a lack of scoring instinct, size,toughness and skill. This “hot Goalie” stuff can only hold up so long. There must be a certain levels of skill to beat any NHL goalie. MDZ will most likely be traded (and should be at this point) and will probably end up like Paul Coffee in a couple of years.
    Pyatt is a joke, BRING UP KISTO!!!
    They will rebound somewhat on the road trip once again teasing us. Here’s a shocker: Imagine trading Lunquest for a good scorer, an enforcer and a number 1 draft pick?

    • Dave says:

      Read the post. No one ever said Girardi is a scorer.

    • Kevin says:

      Trading Lundqvist is stupid enough.

      But trading him for a scorer, AN ENFORCER and a #1st rounder? That there is a special kind of stupid

  17. bernmeister says:

    Selective reply:

    At what point do you think J.T. Miller should be returned to Hartford?
    Should not be returned.

    If you had a choice, would you put Taylor Pyatt or Benoit Pouliot in the lineup? Must choose one.
    Refuse to accept your premise.
    Pyatt has no value.
    Lucky if anyone gives condit. 7th for him, i.e., nothing but advanced cap relief.

    Pouliot + Dorsett should be traded.
    Better off w/Haley, Yogan, Mashinter