Fuel the tank: Statistically, the Rangers are horrible

brett howden brady skjei

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Rangers are not good when you look at their metrics.

Even if you tried to stop me, I’m going to continue. Piggybacking off the Larry Brooks note, that the current 15-13-5 record for the Rangers is both inflated by shootout wins (5) and lack of road games (4-9-2), the Rangers have been largely buoyed by Henrik Lundqvist’s heroics. In a league where the average SV% so far this season is .908, Hank’s .914 is well above average.

But all this we know. The Rangers have been relying on Hank to cover up the Swiss cheese defense for quite some time now. What is beginning to change is the Rangers are going from bad possession metrics to horrible. That 9-1-1 stretch had some solid hockey in it, but it’s been a steep downhill fall since.

Our own Rob Luker sent this to me in response to my tweet that the Rangers have been largely unable to generate shots on goal (going very far to the left of a graph Рhence the joke). Over the past 30 days, the Rangers by far the worst team in the league.  They are 30th in raw CF% and 31st in xGF%. For the tankers in the group, this is where you want this team to be.

It’s not just the past month either. Sure that 9-1-1 stretch was fun, but the Rangers have had atrocious shot share numbers for a while now.

The Rangers are the worst in the non-Ottawa division in cumulative shot share. The Blueshirts are spending the majority of games without the puck. This again isn’t a surprise, as it’s something we’ve seen over the past two years anyway.

What is keeping them afloat? Well shootout wins for one. Their play at MSG is another. But it’s all summed up by PDO.

The Rangers are getting top-ten goaltending from Lundqvist. Alex Georgiev has looked better since his recall as well. Again, stop me if you’ve heard that before. Or don’t.

As Brooks pointed out (read his article, it’s a good one), the Rangers are likely in for a lot more losses in the coming months. This, coupled with some teams likely turning things around, means we should be seeing the Rangers fall in the standings. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the Rangers fall from 10th in the conference to last. There’s only six points separating them from that dubious distinction.

This isn’t doom and gloom. If anything, it’s cause for hope.

Maybe I’m mad, but there is always a silver lining. Lottery picks aside, bottoming out exposes holes that need to be fixed. For the Rangers, those holes are all on the blue line. It’s a fixable problem. There are some prospects in the system that can help. There are some kids on the roster that can help. It’s identified! It’s something that can be addressed! The forwards should be fine!

That is, assuming Jeff Gorton, Glen Sather, and David Quinn don’t take half measures.