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Rangers need someone to emerge from impressive team depth

Does Kreider have the overall game to be the Rangers go-to guy on offense? (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Does Kreider have the overall game to be the Rangers go-to guy on offense? (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers are on the cusp of the Stanley Cup for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is their team depth. Eight players currently have ten or more points in this years playoffs, while nine forwards currently average over fourteen minutes per game. However, among this depth is also a lingering problem; no player has truly emerged as the go-to guy on offense.

Martin St Louis has recently shown a consistency that the entire league has been accustomed to seeing from him for a decade, and when you factor in his tragic circumstances, his performance has been admirable. Meanwhile Chris Kreider has produced in bursts and is the only Ranger that is producing at a point per game rate (nine in ten, to date) but Kreider has been defensively erratic and has produced in bunches. Can he be relied upon to be THE difference maker?

If the Rangers do get past the Canadiens, at least one player from this apparent deep group of forwards will need to step up and produce game in, game out against either of the powerhouse Western Conference teams that are remaining.

The player the Rangers could turn to include Kreider, it could be St Louis or it could be a Derek Stepan or Rick Nash. But someone needs to take the initiative and give the Rangers a guy that can rival the Anze Kopitar’s and Jonathan Toews’ of the playoff world.

There are plenty of other candidates on the Rangers roster: Mats Zuccarello or Derick Brassard are also capable of winning games single-handedly. Of course, this is all without mentioning the merits of former Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards, who has flashed his undoubted but increasingly inconsistent game winning ability during the playoffs this year.

In Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers have the best goalie in the playoffs and the best goalie in the world. They do not need the most prolific offense, but they do need something beyond ‘mere’ depth. The Rangers need someone who can command the constant attention of the oppositions best defensive pairs and still impact games offensively.

What has been the Rangers calling card so far in the playoffs now needs to be just the tip of the iceberg if the Rangers are to get close to winning the Stanley Cup. The depth needs to step up and produce even more. It’s a big ask but no one said winning a Stanley Cup was easy.

"Rangers need someone to emerge from impressive team depth", 5 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.

17 Responses to “Rangers need someone to emerge from impressive team depth”

  1. SalMerc says:

    My vote for the hero would be Dominick Moore. He has shown strong resolve and a passion for not only hockey, but for life itself. Show me a man who stands up for what they believe is, and I will show you my hero.

    3 goals would be nice too.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      Good answer. He has a propensity for big game heroics seemingly out of nowhere. I think tho the Ranger to step up cannot be determined. Just an informed guess. With all the depth on the team as we all know, it could be any of the 12 forwards or 6 defenseman. Rafi Diaz could have a 1G 3A night and help on the PP. Moore is an amazing almost effortless skater and Diaz could hope to skate that well. However, the PP needs a Dman up there to help keep odd man rushes & scoring chances against. I don’t think there’s a huge drop off in defensive play from Moore to Diaz. He should be fine. At MSG the Rangers coaching staff have last change. I expect Klein & Diaz to get 75% Ofennsive zone starts where Diaz is dangerous. He sees the ice like a decent Centerman/set-up guy. He will also help with his nice 1st pass up ice to keep the Canadiens from standing around in a trap at the Center of the neutral zone like they did in 3rd period of game 5. I also think the Habs only have 4 reliable D. They’ll be exhausted by the 3rd period.
      I said it before game 5 that game 6 would be the best chance to end this series. Have to win at home with last change. AV can be careful who he plays his bottom pairing against. Getting Diaz may be a blessing as I see 2 PPG tonight and a 2 goal night from Nash. All 3 lines will be on the scoreboard tonight. The 4th line will be pivotal wearing down the Habs D and bottom 2 lines. Nice comment Sal.

    • rangermom says:

      Wow, Sal. Did you ever call that one!!!!

      • SalMerc says:

        Thanks. Character guys show that the cream really does rise to the top. I try to live by the same mantra.

  2. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Name me a team that is not in this situation? Even the Kings who I think are the best of the 4 standing , have this same situation. Both the Kings and Rangers are getting the secondary scoring on a consistent basis. Montreal’s acting job has taken the 5 on 5 where the Rangers dominate the Canadians, as a tactic to disrupt the 5 on 5 play.
    Rangers defense has had a roller coaster ride thus far especially Girardi. Lundqvuist has given up way too many soft goals in the post season; now when you take the team as a collective they have responded well to adversity and I think they will close it out tonight. Lundqvuist will rebound and I don’t think it will be a close game. Only thing that needs to happen is the referees do not factor into the game lik the last 5 games.

    • Scully says:

      That’s the thing. If the refs don’t continue to factor into the game as much as they have (at this point I don’t know how the league isn’t looking at the diving the Canadiens have been doing because it’s at the point where every American media outlet is pointing it out and calling it disgraceful) then the Rangers will be in good position. Keep the sticks on the ice, throw the body with your shoulders… and for god’s sake, finish every check cleanly tonight and stay even-keeled at the same time.

      LET’S GO RANGERS!

    • BenM says:

      Did anyone catch the OT last night? While there were plenty of plays that could have been whistled dead and a penalty called, instead the refs let both teams play and decide the game themselves. 8 minutes of pure, non-stop hockey. It was great

  3. Scully says:

    It’s a team game… everyone needs to back check and pick up the trailer, everyone needs to play defense, everyone needs to make good, quick decisions with their passes. If there’s one thing the Rangers have shown us this year and this postseason it’s that they’re at their best when they’re balanced. Everyone needs to step up tonight. There won’t be ONE difference maker, there’ll be 19.

  4. Ray says:

    Totally disagree. You get to within five games of the Cup with balance, you can win with balance. A hero is great for the narrative, but so what.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t think Chris is saying there needs to be a hero. What he’s saying is that someone needs to take the bull by the horns and draw attention from the opposition. That opens the ice up for others.

      Whether people want to admit this or not, Nash has been doing this all playoffs.

      • Scully says:

        Definitely Dave. Nash does need to take the bull by the horns. He hasn’t done it all postseason offensively. His defense and his game without the puck has been mostly excellent, but he was brought in to be an offensive difference maker.

  5. bayman says:

    No bad penalties, disciplined defense, solid goaltending, Stanley Cup Finals.

  6. mikeyyy says:

    My vote is the 3rd line, the little zucc shows why he was MVP of the euro team he was on.

    Brass is ready to deliver. And for gods sake poohlioh is due a big game.