Over the years, the Rangers have struggled to find a legitimate powerplay quarterback, and it is something that has held previous teams from their full potential. Keith Yandle came and was misused. Kevin Shattenkirk came, tore up his knee, and was never the same. Both came with high expectations and both fizzled out.
Last season, while Kevin Shattenkirk was struggling, Tony DeAngelo was thriving. DeAngelo only had 10 powerplay points, all assists, but he wasn’t bumped to PP1 until close to the end of the season. PP1 prior was quarterbacked by a combination of Shattenkirk and Neal Pionk. Neither are with the Rangers anymore. But Jacob Trouba and his 3-15-18 line on the powerplay last year is.
For the first time in a long time, the Rangers have a pair of legitimate powerplay quarterbacks that are young with their stock rising. Trouba, just 25 years old, finally got PP1 time in Winnipeg and used it to double his point output from the prior season. DeAngelo also doubled his career high and used that opportunity to truly solidify a spot in the NHL and on the rebuilding Rangers.
The debate remains who will be on PP1 and PP2, with the smart money being on Trouba getting the PP1 time, but there is no debate on which two defensemen will get the lion’s share of powerplay time next season. Sure, Brady Skjei will be in the mix and likely be used sparingly, but it’ll be the Trouba and DeAngelo show. Perhaps the best part is that we know both will be used in this manner, unlike with Shattenkirk and Yandle who –while certainly not living up to the hype– were misused and/or hurt during their short stays.
Oh – and there’s also that Adam Fox kid.
With a powerplay group that’s set to include Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Kaapo Kakko, and Pavel Buchnevich, among other young and talented rookies/second year pros, the Blueshirts are setting themselves up to be an offensively dynamic team that is fun to watch. I, for one, am looking forward to the preseason to see if the X’s and O’s of it all changes with the increased talent.