New York Rangers: 5 Reasons 2015 Reminds Us Of 1994

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Apr 2, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin (62) celebrates a goal scored by forward Dominic Moore (not pictured) during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

4. Depth and Balance

It is fascinating to compare both the 1994 and 2015 Rangers lineups.

When looking at the full lineup, and comparing each line and pairing, the depth and balance each squad represents is flat-out stellar.

1994 Lineup

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  1. Graves-Messier-Anderson
  2. Matteau-Kovalev-Larmer
  3. Tikkanen-MacTavish-Noonan
  4. Gilbert-Nemchinov-Kocur


  1. Leetch-Beukeboom
  2. Lowe-Zubov
  3. Wells-Karpovtsev


  1. Richter
  2. Healy

Black Aces:

  • Doug Lidster (D)
  • Nick Kypreos (W)
  • Eddie Olczyk (C)
  • Mike Hudson (C)
  • Mike Hartman (W)

This is the lineup Keenan started games with. However, as all diehard Rangers fans know, it’s not the lineup Keenan ended games with.

Much like Tortorella, Keenan absolutely adored tinkering with the lines and pairings during the game. In fact, it was such an art to him that he finally decided on a “start of game lineup” and “end of game lineup.”

Because the Blueshirts were so weak down the middle, Alex Kovalev or Esa Tikkanen frequently had to play the second-line center. Kovalev was such a playmaker though, that at the end of games he was propelled to the right side on the Adam Graves-Mark Messier line. Tikkanen would then center Matteau and Larmer and MacTavish would be in the middle of Anderson and Noonan.

The Rangers were so deep that Doug Lidster only played due to an Alex Karpovtsev injury. Lidster became one of their unsung heroes of the tournament as he filled in on the first d-pairing with Brian Leetch after Jeff Beukeboom was nicked up – one of the instances coming in Game 7 of the Finals.

2015 Lineup

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  1. Zuccarello-Brassard-Nash
  2. Kreider-Stepan-St. Louis
  3. Hagelin-Hayes-Miller
  4. Fast-Moore-Glass


  1. McDonagh-Girardi
  2. Staal-Boyle
  3. Yandle-Klein


  1. Lundqvist
  2. Talbot


  • Hunwick (D)
  • Sheppard (C)

Just look at the balance and depth across both lineups.

Dominic Moore and Craig MacTavish are very similar. Moore is by far the Rangers best faceoff man and defensive specialist at the center ice position. For the ’94 Rangers, MacTavish played that very same role for a team who wasn’t strong down the middle.

The arrival of Keith Yandle can now assume some of the duties Sergei Zubov helped the ’94 team with. Dan Girardi and Jeff Beukeboom mirror each other and Steve Larmer and Carl Hagelin also play the same dominant defensive style game (although they each do it differently).

It’s funny, even Adam Graves and Rich Nash enjoy similarities as each squad’s pure goal score (Graves finished with 52 and Nash currently has 42).

Next: Reason No. 3