Rangers average ice time shows no cause for concern yet

We are 11 games into the 2021 season, which is actually about 20% of the season. While nothing is set in stone yet, there have been some complaints about average ice time among the Rangers young guns. The complaints are largely directed at David Quinn. He certainly deserves fault given some of his roster decisions the past three years. But let’s focus on the one thing we know he controls, and that is ice time.

Forwards Ice Time

Most of the complaints are about Kaapo Kakko’s ice time. However those complaints are largely unfounded. Per Natural Stat Trick, Kakko’s ice time sits at 12:10 per game at 5v5. That’s 5th among forwards behind (in order) Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich, and Mika Zibanejad. Strome and Zibanejad are centers. Is there really justification in playing him more than Panarin or Buchnevich?

Worth noting that Alexis Lafreniere sits at 12:09 TOI/GP, so let’s call him even with Kakko. Lafreniere (and Kakko) gets more average 5v5 TOI than Chris Kreider. To end all arguments here, Brett Howdne averages 10: 38 TOI at 5v5.

If there is a complaint, it is when you add in special teams minutes. Kreider jumps over both Kakko and Lafreniere, which again is expected. Kreider is on PP1 and kills penalties. Neither Kakko nor Lafreniere kill penalties. Neither started the year on PP1 either.

The only valid option here is moving Ryan Strome off PP1 and replacing with a lefty, thus balancing the handedness. That has been an issue, but it’s an issue that will resolve itself over time.

Defense Ice Time

There haven’t been many complaints about defense TOI, but let’s do a complete analysis. The concern at the start of the season was where Jack Johnson would slide into the lineup. It was mostly fear-mongering though. Personally, I never had a true concern about Johnson getting top pair ice time once we saw K’Andre Miller break camp.

Speaking of Miller, he leads all defensemen in 5v5 TOI. He’s 16:55 5v5 TOI/GP, a little ahead of Adam Fox (16:49), Jacob Trouba (16:35), and Ryan Lindgren (16:22). There is a clear divide between the top four and the bottom pair. Johnson averaged 13:08 TOI, behind Tony DeAngelo (13:37). Everyone else is under 12 mins TOI/GP.

When factoring in special teams, Fox jumps to the top of the list with a whopping 24:31 TOI/GP, more than two minutes ahead of Trouba. But the top four still remain the same in TOI. Again – Jack Johnson remains sixth here, behind Tony DeAngelo.


Complaints around the Rangers average ice time are largely overblown, at least for now. David Quinn is leaning largely on his top players, and there are some pretty big difference in ice time there. A lot can change between now and the end of the season, and it will be interesting to see how much time Filip Chytil gets when he returns.

David Quinn isn’t free of justified criticism, but the ice time argument seems a tad unfair. At least for now.

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  • There is an issue with the time LaFren is getting. About 10 minutes a game on the 3rd line. Poor usage IMO. He is a top 6 player who deserves top 6 minutes with top 6 players, not Howden.

    • This is beyond ridiculous. Lafreniere has 1 point compared to 3 each for Rooney and Blackwell. Blackwell has played 4 games; Rooney has never gotten to skate in the top six.

      Lafreniere may have a very bright future and he might even be top six today if he were playing in Hartford, but he is not a top six player on any NHL team today.

      And he has averaged about 14 minutes a game, sixth among Ranger forwards, while fully eleven forwards have at least two points.

      • The overall first pick of the draft needs a chance to shine and develop. DQ needs to be reminded of that. LaFren IS OUR Eichel – let him play!

        • I think Lafren’s issue is not time played, but with whom he is playing his time with.

    • I thought Gauither played a very forceful game…just looked up his time and Rooney and Howden both got more time and did nothing with that more time.

    • The post clearly says that he’s getting 12:09 minutes per game. Kakko gets 12:10. Panarin, Strome, Buchnevich, and Zibanejad are the only forwards that get more even strength ice time. Kreider gets less even strength time than either of them, but he also plays BOTH PP and PK, so he gets a little more total time.

  • Since Zibby is non-existent, the NYR should begin to make some changes. Move Zibby down or let him play with Kakko & LaFren. Give Rooney some time with Kreids and Buch as he has shown more desire than Zibby.

    This is the part of the season that you evaluate who is doing what. You know what Kreider and Buch can do with a good center, and Zibby is not that guy this year. Let them flourish while Rooney is hot.

    Strome and Panarin seem to be clicking so let them be or add Gauthier or PhilDG on thier wing.

    Stop leaning so much on Zibby. He is not up to it.

  • Sorry Dave, but it is a cause for concern because this coach has no clue always playing favorites….Ridiculous

    • Sorry, but the numbers tell a completely different story. even strength, top six forwards are 10, 16, 93, 89, 24 and 72.

    • Sorry, but the numbers tell a completely different story. even strength, top six forwards are 10, 16, 93, 89, 24 and 72.

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