Injuries killed the quality over quantity system Alain Vigneault runs

alain vigneault
Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

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:

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.

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10 thoughts on “Injuries killed the quality over quantity system Alain Vigneault runs

  • Jan 25, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    My qualitative rant: trade and fire. Reboot.

  • Jan 25, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    we claimed Cody McLeod off waivers…that should boast scoring…oy vey…why?

    • Jan 25, 2018 at 2:01 pm


      (Jokes aside, though, I’m not sure why other than AV’s apparent affinity for a no-talent-face-puncher/no-talent-face-punch-receiver taking up a roster spot that should go to a skilled player who can actually help win hockey games.)

      • Jan 26, 2018 at 6:56 am

        You mean like David Desharnais and his 5 goals? Or Peter Holland.

  • Jan 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    The massive gap between xGF60 and GF60

  • Jan 25, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    The goals drying up after December should be a surprise to no Ranger fan.

    My favorite Ranger mantra: “Tell me what they do in Feb, Mar, and Apr.”

    It’s the same every year, injuries or not.

  • Jan 25, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    The shelf life mantra should have been enacted last summer.

  • Jan 25, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    In a sense though, the system is not important right now. JG did not expect to win this year and signing only Desharnais as an up front veteran left the team thin at forward. JG saved money for both short and long term, not committing the future, plus left room for Andersson, Chityl if they were ready. Yes, the Rangers could have caught lightning in a bottle and won it all, but JG’s plans were long term.

    Instead of lightning in a bottle, what the Rangers got instead was an above average injury year. It hardly seems reasonable that the Rangers could be serious contenders with Kreider and Shattenkirk injured and the two first rounders in Hartford.

    As for what the systems should be, it seems to me that you want a system that can win with the right players. If the players aren’t good enough, why fit your system to the players if the most you might get is a first round playoff exit?

    Now, if you think the system is inadequate even with quality players, that is another matter.

    I have one problem with the BSB narrative regarding AV. The narrative is that AV insists on using players that don’t fit his system and won’t use those that do. This makes AV incomprehensibly stupid. There are lots of misguided people in this world, but people tend to be misguided in comprehensible ways.

  • Jan 26, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Why won’t AV even try Grabner on the PP just for one game

    • Jan 29, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      why? he cant change, wont change and nothing will change until he is gone.

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