State of the Rangers

High scoring games will be the norm for the Rangers this season

The NY Rangers have a potent offense, but are weak defensively

The Rangers won their home opener against the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 6-4 in what was a wildly entertaining game. There were goals galore, and the Blueshirts showcased their new stars and how it will impact the top of their lineup. The game also showed us what we expected, that the blue line and defensive schemes still need some work.

None of this is new information, we all knew this going into the season. The mantra this year is “we may win but I may die” in terms of excitement and back-and-forth hockey. The Rangers gave up 47 shots on goal to a Winnipeg team that is good, but not the cream of the crop. At least not anymore without both Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien.

Not all teams are as good as the Jets. The Blueshirts will have their fair share of games against the Kings, Senators, and the bottom feeders. Those games should look a little more balanced. But when facing the good teams and better, the Blueshirts are likely to hemorrhage shots. Again, not a surprise, and something that takes more than one season to correct. They may even take a step backwards this season when compared to last.

On the bright side, at least after one game, Henrik Lundqvist looked dialed in while making 43 saves (that’s a .915 SV% for those keeping track). It is entirely possible we see a .915 SV% from the Blueshirts goalies while seeing a GAA north of 3.00.

This is a byproduct of a rebuild. The Blueshirts have two rookies and one second (or third, depending on how you look at Tony DeAngelo’s career) year pro on the blue line. They join a true 1RD (Trouba), an aging 3LD at best playing out his contract (Staal) and…Brendan Smith, sorta. There’s also Brady Skjei, but that’s a story for a different day.

Suffice it to say, the personnel on the blue line are not well suited to stop the bleeding. At least not yet. Ideally the rookies get better throughout the year, hence rebuild and development. While that is happening, expect 70+ shots per game between the Rangers and the opposition. We may win but I may die, indeed.

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  • If your forwards are taking their sweet time getting back to help, it doesn’t matter if you had Pronger and Bourque in their prime.

    • Reen… do you think if we gave Seattle a second round pick as an incentive they would take Skjei in the expansion draft? Or is that not enough?

      • They have to draft at least $60mm(if not more) in salary, so if left available, he might be the pick.

        But you got to make him look good for them to want him at any price.

        Tell Hank to stuff it on the fronting.

  • Think you’re pushing the defensive panic button here a little quickly. There’s no reason this defensive 7 can’t become cohesive enough to not be a disaster, especially with a tad more help from the forwards. Allow the young guys like Fox and Hajek to truly get acclimated. Before we all bury Skjei AGAIN, it’s just one game … we know what he’s capable of when he’s ON. It’s up to him now if he’s on or off. Re: Staal, well sorry but there’s nothing anyone can do about that. lol

    • Sorry but Skjei is not worth that salary and he is not a first pair LHD. He’s regressing and there are too many LHD prospects in the pipeline. If Seattle selected him it would be a blessing to this rebuilding franchise. AND I would add an incentive to make that happen. But that’s just me.

      • This coming from a huge Brady defender, yeah, Brady looked lost on Thursday night.

        He dragged Trouba down that game for sure. Brady totally left his position on the first goal, was no where to be found by the post there on his side.

        I think the Rangers do have a problem here, yes. And it’s not one game, it’s 2 years.

      • … and he isn’t being paid like one. There’s someone else though on the team that is making a bit more money and he’s barely a 3rd pairing d’man in this league.

  • Point taken about the rebuild, but coach Ruff has been here through the changeover in coaches and players, with little noticeable improvement.

  • It just one game into the season, and now “High scoring games will be the norm for the Rangers this season”, “The NY Rangers have a potent offense”… maybe a little too quick?

  • It is a bit early to write this article. We’ve only played one game. However, I believe that the focus on the blue line as being the problem is inaccurate. The forwards have to play defense too. Defense is a team concept and responsibility.

    They might give up a lot of goals of this season, but it is not because the defense is atrocious. Rather it’s because they have a young team and a system that will allow a lot of goals.

  • I am sticking to my prediction that the Rangers make the playoffs.

    But that also assumes that the coaches and management get their heads out of their you know whats, and play ALL the young players, who are more talented and better skating than some of the stiffs in the line up on Thursday.

  • First good defense is not just the job of the defenceman. The best defense is playing the game in the others team end of the ice. When the puck is turned over, everyone including the forwards needs to get back, pick up a man and help break up the play.

    One of the Rangers weakness has been their play along the boards. Frankly they lose too many puck battles. Kaapo, Krav and Troub I believe can help them improve in this area.

    As far as goaltending, if the Rangers team continues to allow 45 shots on net every game they will not be successful no matter who is in net. They will be shooting birdies come playoff time.

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