Forwards

NYR bottom six forwards mid-season report card

Continuing on with the mid-season report card, this is my take on the Rangers bottom six forwards. Dave covered the goaltending and coaches and Chris wrote about the top-six forwards previously, so be sure to check them out.

(ALL STATS ARE 5v5 UNLESS NOTED OTHERWISE)

CARL HAGELIN

  • GP: 43
  • TOI/Gm: 12.7
  • CF/60: 51.3 (8 fwd)
  • CA/60: 49.2 (2 fwd)
  • RelCF%: 2.0 (4 fwd)
  • P/60: 1.4 (10 fwd)
  • SHCF%: 11.0 (TOI/Gm – 2.1)

Hagelin’s speed keeps opposing teams honest. He’s been very reliable defensively, a dangerous part of the penalty kill and has big playmaking potential 5v5 on the offensive side of things. Keep your eye on his name in trade rumors. He’s a free agent at the end of the year and with cap space tight after Marc Staal’s extension he could be a cap casualty. Hagelin has been a big part of the bottom six and will continue to be moving into the 2nd half of the season.

GRADE: B

KEVIN HAYES

  • GP: 40
  • TOI/Gm: 11.7
  • CF/60: 51.7 (7 fwd)
  • CA/60: 50.3 (4 fwd)
  • RelCF%: 1.4 (5 fwd)
  • P/60: 1.7 (8 fwd)

Coming in as a rookie who spent the majority of his final two years at Boston College playing right wing my expectations for Kevin Hayes playing center and making the team were tempered. He has exceeded mine, and I’m assuming most others, predictions in terms of his contribution to the Rangers thus far. Solid wingers on either side of him (for most of the year) have helped, but he still deserves credit. I expect a drop off in production due to a longer schedule than he’s used to, although he has proven me wrong up to date.

GRADE: B-

JESPER FAST

  • GP: 31
  • TOI/Gm: 10.5
  • CF/60: 44.7 (15 fwd)
  • CA/60: 51.0 (8 fwd)
  • RelCF%: -2.5 (11 fwd)
  • P/60: 1.1 (12 fwd)
  • SHCF%: 8.3 (TOI/Gm – 1.0)

I like Jesper Fast’s potential. He’s got speed, he’s young and defensively solid despite lacking much offense. At this moment I do not view him as a third line player (where he’s been slotted most recently). On the fourth line he’s been hampered by his most common opposite wing mate. Fast has room to grow and if he’s put in the right situations down the stretch he could be a valuable member of the bottom 6.

GRADE: C

J.T. MILLER

  • GP: 22
  • TOI/Gm: 11.4
  • CF/60: 58.3 (1 fwd)
  • CA/60: 49.9 (4 fwd)
  • RelCF%: 5.6 (1 fwd)
  • P/60: 1.2 (11 fwd)
  • PPCF%: 80.0 (TOI/Gm – 1.2)

Miller has his flaws. He tends to make a “big mistake” here and there (usually in the defensive zone) that overshadows all of the other positive things he does in game. Alain Vigneault is lukewarm on him for reasons I don’t agree with. To me, Miller has been nothing short of brilliant given his role thus far. As Dave has pointed out for months on end, he’s clearly suited to be a winger. If he can stay out wide and is given an opportunity off the 4th line, I expect Miller to be a big contributor in the 2nd half of the season.

GRADE: B+

DOMINIC MOORE

  • GP: 43
  • TOI/Gm: 11.5
  • CF/60: 50.2 (11 fwd)
  • CA/60: 49.8 (3 fwd)
  • RelCF%: 0.9 (7 fwd)
  • P/60: 1.0 (13 fwd)
  • SHCF%: 11.8 (TOI/Gm – 2.2)

Take a heavy dose of defensive zone starts, add an anchor to your left and what do you get? A positive CF%. Moore has been everything you could ask for and more out of your fourth line center. If Vigneault put out the optimal lineup night after night you’d see Moore flourish each 5v5 shift. All he does is play smart, consistent hockey. Expect nothing less the rest of the season.

GRADE: B+

LEE STEMPNIAK

  • GP: 37
  • TOI/Gm: 11.6
  • CF/60: 55.3 (4 fwd)
  • CA/60: 50.5 (6 fwd)
  • RelCF%: 4.4 (2 fwd)
  • P/60: 1.5 (9 fwd)
  • PPCF%: 86.0 (TOI/Gm – 1.5)

Stempniak has been an absolute bargain for the Rangers. He drives play and has pretty good skill for a fourth line player. Dubbed as “Benoit Pouliot’s replacement” by many, he has not been that (nor did most of us expect him to be). Stempniak has however been a very solid contributor to the team and at a great price against the cap.

GRADE: B-

TANNER GLASS

  • GP: 30
  • TOI/Gm: 8.8
  • CF/60: 41.7 (last fwd)
  • CA/60: 52.7 (10 fwd)
  • RelCF%: -6.5 (last fwd)
  • P/60: 0.2 (last fwd)
  • SHCF%: 11.1 (TOI/Gm – 1.3)

There’s not much left for me to say in regards to Tanner Glass. The evidence against playing him has been noted time and time again. He has no skill. He’s irresponsible defensively and offensively. He’s a liability every time he’s on the ice and yet he has still played 30 games this season. Glass does not help the Rangers win hockey games. If you think he does your priorities are misplaced. Glass makes the Rangers significantly worse night in and night out.

GRADE: F

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  • Fair grading of the bottom six, except I’d give Hags a B+, and Stempniak a B!!

    I hope your wrong in your remark that Hags may be a cap causality, the kid does so many things well, I’d hate to see him lost due to lack of funds!!

    • Wouldn’t be a lack of funds if they’d stop doling out long term contracts to overated d men. Again, it amazes me how quick people on this are willing to accept Hagelin being the odd man out. I must be watching a different guy out there.

        • Hags is amazing but he’s a luxury on this team. Brian Boyle was the same type of luxury player.

          Guys like Staal and Girardi are top 4 D men, those are not Role Players, those are guys that play at least 33% of every game and can be trusted with being on the ice for half the game. You can justify spending big on players like that.

          Role Players are vital cogs to a winning team but once you start overpaying for humble role players you can no longer be a winning team. That is why having a steady pipeline of young, inexpensive players that can fill those roles is vital. Brian Boyle leaves, you groom Oscar Lindberg to replace him. Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello asking for too much money? Why hello Jesper Fast, Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich.

          Personally, I think Hags sticks around through his next contract until he becomes an unrestricted FA.

          • “Hags is amazing, but hes a luxury?” Don’t mean to insult you, but that is just dumb!! Again, you’re so quick to give jobs to umproven rookies who have proved NOTHING!! Try watching a game with the sound down, and tuning out Joe and Sam. Not every prospect who has 1 or 2 moments during the season is an automatic starter. In Hagelin you have a speed demon, animal on the forecheck, good corner man and from all accounts, a great teamate. Yeah, he doesnt score enuf; out side of Nash, on this team, who does. Its irresponsible to just cast off an asset like Hagelin because of “business.” They will live to regret it if they sacrifice him to the Cap.

    • good write-ups, Martin. no comment on the letter grades, everyone’s scale is different, but you really hit on most of the key points of each guy’s contribution to the team this season.

  • What a surprise!!! Glass gets an F. This years whipping boy keeps his title. The only guy willing to drop the gloves on this team while the other vets stand around watching. Yeah, hes a problem alright!

    • The post has 7 forwards, but you singled out Glass.

      He has 5 fights this year out of the 12 the Rangers have had. Klein has 3, Kreider 2, and 1 each for McIlrath and Zucc.

      Fighting is such an insignificant part of the game now.

  • I think some players are getting the benefit of the doubt in too many situations. Is there a $ per point stat or a $ per TOI stat?

    I think many love guys (Hags) or hate guys (Glass), but in the CAP era, we need some sort of value measurement. Tough to grade the intangibles like speed and heart and Team support, but all players should have a certain value quotient that tells us “bang for the buck”. We just cannot afford a high priced bottom six guy who isn’t special in at least one or two ways.

    • Nothing readily available for us to use unfortunately. Best approach we can use is looking at the cap number relative to the production and infer from there.

  • All things considered, we can probably get more for Miller than we can for Hags, and I don’t see where he contributes anywhere near as much to the team.

    • I like Hagelin as much as anyone, but most fans undervalue Miller. I love his game, big strong, throws the body, can pass, and score. And he is only 21. I will be very upset if he gets traded, in my opinion a surefire future star in the NHL.

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