Appreciating the Rangers’ scoring depth

mika zibanejad

As the Rangers gear up for a playoff run, a lot of the focus has been on potential opponents and/or pending lineup decisions. But I want to take a step back and appreciate the big picture for a second. In September, we all thought the Rangers had no chance of being this good. If you had told me that Henrik Lundqvist would struggle for the first half of the season, I would have guessed the Rangers missed the playoffs.

But here we are, 90 points later and a virtual lock for the playoffs. The goaltending came around. The defense is pretty bad, but there have been bright spots and unexpected scoring sources. However it’s been the forwards carrying the load by outscoring the inconsistent goaltending and porous defense. It’s time we appreciate that depth.

The Rangers have a whopping eight forwards (Miller, Kreider, Zuccarello, Stepan, Nash, Zibanejad, Hayes, Grabner) who are averaging at least 0.5 points per game. They likely have five 20-goal scorers (Grabner, Kreider, Miller, Nash, Hayes) and a pair of 30-goal scorers (Grabner, Kreider).

There’s no one player on the Rangers who carries the scoring load. That’s what makes this team so dangerous. If it’s not the top line, it’s the fourth line. If it’s not the middle six, it’s the top line. On any given –healthy– night, the Rangers have at least 13 forwards who can bury one. And they only need to dress 12 of them. Not many clubs can boast that depth.

When it comes to cumulative game score, the Rangers boast eight top-six forwards by that metric. They have another three third liners, and one fourth liner. This has a games played requirement, so Pavel Buchnevich, Matt Puempel, and Tanner Glass are not shown here.

It’s also worth noting that the Rangers have three defenseman (McDonagh, Skjei, Holden) over 30 points. For a team that struggles mightily with zone exits, that’s still pretty impressive.

The scoring depth on this year’s version of the Rangers is something to marvel at. It’s what gives them a legitimate shot to make a run this year. With that offense and Henrik Lundqvist, anything can happen.