When the New York Rangers started off this season I, personally, had very high hopes for the team. However, after their horrible 3-6 start on that seemingly never-ending road trip it appeared as though the Rangers were not headed for any sort of glory. The team looked like a group of chickens that had recently gotten their heads chopped off; they weren’t scoring, they weren’t playing defense and the goaltenders were not stopping any shots. It seemed as if it was going to be a long season for the Rangers but after going 24-15-3 and jumping up into a playoff spot, it seems that the team has finally found its groove and might find glory after all.
Needless to say, we’ve all witnessed the massive turnaround and have come to realize that the Rangers are in fact capable of doing something exciting. Mats Zuccarello and Brad Richards have taken on the role of being the team’s leaders, Richards with 36 points and Zuccarello with 35. The Rangers are going to need Richards’ veteran experience if they hope to accomplish anything in the post season. Derek Stepan, who’s having a slow season in terms of points especially after what we saw last season, still is third on the team in points with 30 and when he finds his game it will be a crucial part of the team’s postseason success. Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider are both having incredible seasons each with 27 points at this moment in the season and have become key components of the Rangers lineup. The Rangers have found success on all four lines, everyone is contributing to the team and all the players are doing what they’re supposed to do. Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist have reemerged into the superstars we know them to be which is crucial for the Rangers.
All that being said, what is missing from the Rangers? Is there really something missing from the lineup? Coach Alain Vigneault‘s system has recently allowed for almost guaranteed offense and consistent defense, the Rangers are in the top 10 in the NHL on the power play and on the penalty kill, can there really be something missing? Yes, there are two areas where the Rangers are lacking, one more so then the other. While I love the addition of Daniel Carcillo, one man is not going to be enough to protect the entire team. As lame as this sounds Carcillo needs a partner in crime, someone to help shoulder the workload of protecting the Rangers superstars. You can argue all you want that once Derek Dorsett returns he’s going to be that guy, but if he’s going to be that guy he has to stop losing every fight in which he engages. Next, what the Rangers really need is an offensive defenseman, not what Michael Del Zotto is pretending to be, a REAL offensive defenseman, someone who can be in the top four, paired preferably with Marc Staal and can contribute to offense but can also cause some trouble with other team’s top guys. Think someone like Mike Green from the Washington Capitals or Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Anyway, that’s my bit! Let me know what you think by commenting below or by tweeting @bluelinestation or @kennybelvin and as always, Lets Go Rangers!