Cause I’m Free…Free Fallin: A look into the stats through half the season

The Rangers stink. We know this. We knew this coming into the season. It took a little longer than expected, but the Rangers are spiraling down to the bottom of the standings. We’ve done a few of these stat check ins throughout the season, and there have always been caveats.

However it is no longer early on. It is no longer a small sample size. At 42 games into the season, what you see is what you get with the Rangers. So let’s take a deep dive, courtesy of Sean Tierney, who is a must follow.

The Rangers are so bad offensively that Sean needs to expand his x-axis to fit the Rangers on it. They are the worst team in the league at generating shots. Yes, worse than Ottawa. That’s what happens when you spend 50 minutes a game in your own zone, concede the blue line on zone entries, and can’t execute a proper breakout.

But it’s all a run of bad luck, you say? Let’s look at PDO, which would be able to explain poor shooting percentage or poor goaltending. That’s the Rangers, right in the middle where the axes meet. League average. Their elite goaltending cannot save them anymore, and nor can their usually strong forwards that usually feast on high danger chances.

Shot share rates are an extension of the first graph, and basically this reads how you expect it. The lower you are, the more time you are spending in the defensive zone. There used to be a large gap between the Rangers and the Senators. Now the Rangers are catching up, and it’s not good.

Rob Luker pointed out how the Rangers had their best string of hockey from games 15-22, and right around then is when the Rangers had great expected-goal numbers. They’ve been so bad over the past 20 games that they are now dead last in the division and one of the worst teams in the league at generating offensive chances. But at this point, I’m just repeating myself.

Last one – and this is expectations versus reality. The Blueshirts have always been in the “bad” category here, mostly because of defensive play. However they’ve been making a beeline towards that bottom left corner. Where they were more towards the middle 20 games ago, not so much anymore.

The Rangers banked a ton of points in October and November, more than we expected them too. They also banked a bunch of loser points, so they are higher in the standings than they deserve to be. Due to that, it is highly unlikely the Rangers finish with a guaranteed shot at drafting either Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko. Such is life.

While it is alarming how fast the Rangers went from losing respectably to just downright terrible, I can’t say I’m all that surprised at how bad they are. David Quinn’s defensive system is easily exploited at the blue line, the defenders can’t keep up with faster skaters, and the whole thing is a mess.

It’ll only get worse too. Kevin Hayes is one of the top offensive players on the team this year. He will be gone in a month or so. Ditto Mats Zuccarello. This slide may get a little more respectable in terms of final scores, but the losses are going to pile up.