The Rangers are probably the most hotly debated 10-2-2 team that I’ve ever come across. There are those that believe the Rangers are the best team in the league. There are others that believe the Rangers are a product of unsustainable goaltending and shooting percentage. The reality likely falls in the middle.
The Rangers are probably one of the deepest teams in the league at forward. They have four lines that can score and play two-way hockey. They can skate, score, and play defense. Their rush-based offense has again turned turnovers into scoring chances and goals. The goaltending is elite, not much else to say there. The biggest questions are on the blue line, and it’s something we’ve covered here a bunch of times.
Last week, I introduced a tool that was able to track how prospects in the WHL were doing. Today I would officially like to show the QMJHL version of the tool and allow people to use it. The visual is attached below. This feature is available in the main menus at the top, under Prospect Career Trends. The direct link to the QMJHL tool is here.
To use this, go to the drop down menu and choose any QMJHL player . You will automatically be able to see the trend of the prospect along his QMJHL Career. If you are interested you may use the “Seasons” slider to look at how the player has done over time season by season.
The first graph shows Assists/Game and Goals/Game. Under the circle we have player name, points/game and games played. The second Graph graphs the QoC (Quality of Competition) and QoT (Quality of teammates). The higher the QoT,the better the teammates, and the higher the QoC the tougher the competition. Hope this will be useful for people and I will be updating stats around every week and a half.
The fanbase is obviously divided on Dan Girardi. It couldn’t be any more obvious. Some think he’s a top pairing, shutdown defenseman. Others think he should be fired into the sun with a giant Acme slingshot. The rest think it’s somewhere in between. It’s pretty fun to watch the interactions on Twitter and in the comments.
So that leads me to the newest poll: Where do you think the Rangers should play Girardi? Top pair? Out of the lineup? In between? Vote in the poll below.
Disclaimer: I’m 100% poking the bear here.
Rick Nash has returned to practice, skating on his usual line with Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard. Emerson Etem is back as the spare forward. Dan Boyle will also stay in the lineup, and Dylan McIlrath will sit.
Over the weekend, Alain Vigneault spoke with Dan Boyle, and said that he would be getting more time off as a healthy scratch throughout the season. The reasoning is that the Rangers have a fairly condensed schedule, with 17 back-to-backs and about ten (I think) three-in-fours. While Boyle is better defensively than he receives credit, he is also 39 years old coming off a long season.
There’s also the factor of getting Dylan McIlrath playing time, which in the long-run is equally important. McIlrath has made tremendous strides in his game over the past year, and has gone from “bust” territory to serviceable defenseman. The Rangers invested a lot of time and effort into his development, and it appears to finally be paying dividends.
The New York Rangers have won five games in a row. They are 7-0-2 in their last nine games, and are sitting atop the Metro Division. But yet the focus seems to be on Rick Nash, at least when it isn’t on Dan Girardi. Nash has just one goal thus far, and has drawn the ire of many fans. But I’m not all that concerned about Rick Nash. And neither should you.
We’ve discussed Nash here and there over the past month, mostly noting that he’s shooting well below his career average of 12.4% (he’s at just 3% now). He’s doing the right things, driving to the net, getting scoring chances, and creating offense for him and his teammates. It’s definitely a slump to start the season. That said, the process is there but the results, to date, have not.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1, Hartford Wolf Pack 0
Bridgeport, CT, November 8, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack were shut out for a third straight time, a first in franchise history, Sunday at Webster Bank Arena, losing 1-0 to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Wolf Pack outshot the Sound Tigers 30-18, but could not solve Bridgeport goaltender Christopher Gibson. Jesse Graham’s late-second period goal was the only scoring. Magnus Hellberg made 17 stops in the Wolf Pack net.
The loss came on the heels of a 4-0 Wolf Pack home-ice setback vs. the Albany Devils Saturday night and a 5-0 home loss to the Toronto Marlies Wednesday.
Albany Devils 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 0
By Chuck Packard
Hartford, CT, November 7, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack suffered their second consecutive home shutout loss Saturday night at the XL Center, falling 4-0 to the Albany Devils.
Former Wolf Pack Yann Danis blanked his old team, making 24 saves, and Blake Coleman and Corey Tropp had a goal and an assist each for the Devils. The Wolf Pack were coming off of a 5-0 home loss to Toronto Wednesday.
The Wolf Pack started the game with an early power play, with Joseph Blandisi called for hooking at 1:48. The Devils were able to turn it around, however, and score a shorthanded goal just 2:53 into the game. The goal was scored by Mike Sislo on a 2-on-1 with Blake Pietila.
The Rangers own again last night in Colorado, and are now 6-0-2 in their last eight games. Now the Rangers make the short trip back to Phoenix to wrap up the season series against the Coyotes. The Yotes score a lot (3 goals per game) and get scored on a lot (also 3 goals per game). They have a lot of young skill, but minimal depth. Antoine Vermette is also injured, which takes away from their offensive punch and already short depth.
The Yotes should eventually fall back to lottery territory, but it’s about when you play a team. They are still relatively scary, since the goaltending has been good and the scoring has been coming in bunches. Mike Smith is down to a .904 SV% though, so putting shots on him will go a long way.
What have they done lately?