For years now, the Rangers have tailored their system around quality over quantity. It was a little maddening watching the Rangers get out-shot on a game by game basis, but it worked. The Rangers had the skill to back it up, and their high SH% was no fluke. This drove regular season success, and helped them to a Stanley Cup Final and Conference Final.
Fast forward to this season, and it all seems to be coming apart. While most of this was expected on the defensive end, it’s the lack of goals that does come as a little bit of a surprise. The Rangers are still talented up front, but it seems to come in spurts. Lately, those spurts have been Rick Nash or bust. And there is a very clear reason for that as well. The system is not designed to handle a combination of injuries and lack of depth.
The last sentence of that paragraph may seem obvious, and likely applies to most teams. However the Rangers, who have their system built on talent and quality, are impacted more because their high SH% is no longer a product of skill. That skill has left the lineup in the form of injuries to Kevin Shattenkirk, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider. This thread really nails it:
Normally I don't like to do rants on this account, but I feel as if there is some very damning evidence that's flying under the radar re the Rangers, Alain Vigneault, and the system that this team plays. This rant will be based on this image. (1/12) pic.twitter.com/gEKuJZ6rJ0
— Adam Gavriel (@nerdhockeyAG) January 24, 2018
This system, as Adam points out, relies heavily on the the Blueshirts’ ability to generate quality chances that wind up in the back of the net. They also rely heavily on Henrik Lundqvist. It’s maddening to live by the “score a bunch and hope Hank makes the save” mantra, but it worked until this year.
So while the defensive system is broken, something we’ve documented almost daily around these parts, it’s the offensive system that is now broken as well. The Blueshirts can no longer rely on quality over quantity, because those players with top line/pairing level talent have been removed from the lineup.
The only way this gets fixed is with a change in the system, or some miracle drug that prevents injuries. Until either of those things happen, we will continue to see the deterioration of the Rangers as we know them. If the coach won’t adjust to account for these issues, then it’s time to enact the mantra of every coach has a shelf life. The systems are 100% his responsibility."Injuries killed the quality over quantity system Alain Vigneault runs",