Special Teams

NY Rangers special teams combos remain mostly unchanged

The NY Rangers showcased their probable special teams combos at practice, and it looks like nothing changed from March.

That is a killer top powerplay unit, and one that could feasible carry the Rangers. This holds true especially if the hockey is as sloppy as expected given the long layoff. The second powerplay unit shouldn’t be slept on either, especially if Kaapo Kakko has been as resurgent as noted.

The penalty kill combos, well those leave a lot to be desired.

Ryan Strome and Brett Howden were one of the worst forward duos in the league this year on the penalty kill. The Rangers don’t have much to work with here outside of Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast, so that should be taken into account. There’s still room for improvement.

The defense pairs are easily managed by simply swapping Staal and Fox, but that isn’t going to happen. I get it – Fox plays a lot at evens and on the powerplay. But if the Rangers want to be more successful on the PK, that’s one simple change that can get it done.

Much like their even strength lines, the NY Rangers special teams combos remain relatively unchanged since the lockdown. This should be expected, as is the same for most teams. The big question is which Rangers team will show up. Will it be the November Rangers? Or the February Rangers?

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  • These are their go-to PP and PK units. No need to change as the personnel really did not change.

    Our 2nd unit really needs to step up during the playoffs as I see our first line playing lots of minutes.

  • Panarin has all the markings of a great penalty killer — from his defensive awareness to his crafty and subtle stick/body work. The only issue I see is whether or not we want to “tax” him with that extra ice time (something the coaching staff doesn’t seem to think of as an issue with Zib).

    • One thing that is poorly understood I think is stamina. Some players can handle more ice time than others, although it is hard to know what someone can do unless you push them. Back in the 80s, the Rangers had a defenseman named Reijo Ruotsaleinen. Phil Esposito did not like him because he couldn’t handle long shifts. He had to be replaced sooner than usual and this is not the kind of thing fans typically notice. In contrast, Dan Girardi still could play after he was out there for two minutes.

      In 2018-2019, DQ really improved Ranger results by simply giving Zuc and Zib a lot more ice time. Mika showed he could handle it. We don’t know how much ice time Panarin can handle – or how he would handle it. Gretzky was good at pacing himself. If Panarin played 25-30 minutes a game by pacing himself, would he be more or less useful than the Panarin we have now.

      Incidentally, Zibanejad only averaged one minute more per game than did Panarin. And filling the center role is more problematic than the wing on the PK.

      • “One thing that is poorly understood I think is stamina.”

        Totally. If you never played than I think this kind of stuff might go over some spectators heads. I have had coaches testing me on how well that I could control my energy since peewee. Drills that would be conducted for over 7-8 mins like a 5 min PP kill.

        Someone like Fast can get tired and still be useful at the end of a shift. Ryan Callahan, Mcd and a younger Girardi was a special group due to their desire to finish out shifts. This is what hurt Andersson chances at becoming a NHL pro.

  • Actually, the PK stats for the Rangers this season were almost exactly league average – when Lundqvist was not on the ice. And even above average when Shesterkin was in there.

    2005-2013: 43 NHL goalies played 200+ games. Henrik Lundqvist was third in PK save percentage at .887.

    2013-2020: 37 goalies played 200+ games. Henrik Lundqvist was 31st in PK save percentage at .859.

    On balance, league numbers are slightly higher in the more recent period.

    • So true, the best penalty killer on the PK is a teams netminder. Henk has not been stellar in that department, perhaps he had to face too many high danger shots.

  • Using Fox on the PK: What coaches try to do is give players roles they can handle. Adam Fox is a first year pro. ES, the PP, and the PK are largely three different games. By not using him on the PK, you greatly simplify his responsibilities – and FWIW, it has worked out fantastically well. I expect to see him a lot more on the PK in his sophomore season.

    Incidentally, for those who don’t remember, Tom Renney kept highly touted rookie Marc Staal off the power play for the same reason. Hard to imagine now, but the Rangers had expected Marc to be a quality PP performer down the road.

  • This where the Trouba sigining really hurt this team. He doesn’t help in any scenario that he has to play in. You think he would turn that PP2 into a threat. Meanwhile he is apart of the pk problems… He might be able to show his physicality when he has to defend the rush but he will often get out muscle or burned during a basic low to high cycle. He is really bad at defending(awareness) and stick work(poke checks).

    8 mill for what again? 3-3.5 million over what he truly brings to the game shift after shift. SMH

  • Are there any changes since the last game? Except for replacing a suspended Lemiuex? And Kreider is back?

  • This is where no Kevin Hayes set this team back. You don’t let go a quality 2c who can ride shotgun to your 1c.

    Now Philly has another 200 ft center to play behind their Selke worthy 1c. All their depth players get to play with him on the PK and PP2. Maybe Lem or Goat could have developed properly with a center who is a pk specialist? Or Kakko could have worked well with him on the PP2…

    I find it concerning how Hayes earned that Flyers locker rooms respect on day 1. They already have a seasonal vet core.. Trouba on the other hand doesn’t sound like he connected in that way. What a flop signing lol.

      • Chytil isn’t a top 6 center and deff not a quality one yet.

        Let’s continue to wait and see if he can make the PP2 work with Buch, Kakko and Fox.. No way that he can handle 2nd line duties while being consistent. He had a good 2-3 games while Zib was hurt. Then he went quiet until the season got put on pause.

        • All Chytil needs is the chance to play with top players.

          The problem is that the coach gets in the way, when it comes to proper player deployment.

          • in the development years? No way let’s play vets. Silly Gorton thought he is development coach.

            have a rec’d LOL

          • Panarin is leading that charge in wanting Strome as his center. He said on two seperate occasions on how him and Strome work really well together.

            I thought that was a huge sign in Chytil not being ready. **Trust** is key and when subtle hints are being made from your star player (Panarin), you listen imo. Besides Chytil’s dz game is like none existent and his nz is still pretty weak. I see a 3c who needs 13-14 mins a night. It’s hard to imagine as a legit 2c when he can’t take care of business on the man advantage with Buch, Kakko and Fox. If Kevin Hayes can be a 45+ point player who was in strict roles with 95% bottom 6 names as linemates. Than Chytil should learn to take advantage of the opportunities that he has now.

        • I got your point. IDK if you watch some games when Chytil come back from AHL( never should be send there). Perfectly played 2c when Mika was injuried

          • “Perfectly played 2c when Mika was injuried”.
            Yeah for like 2-3 games straight he played well up. Than it was a nose dive after that.

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