Do the New York Rangers Need Tanner Glass in the Playoffs?


When the stakes are high and there’s little room for mistakes, should the New York Rangers keep Tanner Glass in the lineup heading into the playoffs?

Tanner Glass has gotten a lot of criticism. The New York Rangers forward has been trashed from his play with the puck to how often (or rather, unoften) he drops the mitts. The 31-year-old has been a popular scapegoat throughout much of the regular season, so naturally there’s going to be some questioning over whether or not he should be in the lineup for the playoffs.

Let’s get straight to the point: The Rangers need Tanner Glass for the Playoffs.

New York Rangers
New York Rangers /

New York Rangers

Glass has been the size and grit lacking in other areas of the lineup this season. At 6’1″ and 210 pounds, Glass is one of the larger Rangers along with Rick Nash, Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes. And with 213 hits for the second most amongst Rangers, Glass clearly isn’t shy throwing the weight around.

On the other hand, his offensive stats are atrocious. Over 66 games, Glass collected one lonely goal and five assists. His value in the forecheck did improve later on in the season, but racking up points is not what the Saskatchewan native came to New York to do.

Every hockey player comes into the league with at least one exceptional skill: speed, blocking shots, scoring goals, finishing checks, whatever it may be. For Glass, that skill is grit: that’s what he’s known for. He’s got the physicality and the balls to punch someone in the face when that usually means getting a few jabs right back.

But Glass is no goon. He’s smart with when he fights. He knows he has to stick up for the team every once in a while. Yet at the same time, he doesn’t want to be the reason his team is on a penalty kill every single game.

Mar 14, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Tanner Glass (15) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Glass also has more chirps up his sleeve than a bird’s nest at 6am. You’re definitely not going to find a stat to back that up but you can see Glass talking s%#t nearly every single game. He knows how to get under the opponent’s skin and he does just that when it’s called for. And there’s no better time to get into the other team’s heads than in the playoffs when you need as many things going for you as possible.

This is why Alain Vigneault refused to keep Glass as a grocery stick. Vigneault put him on the ice in order to fill a specific role. With that said, the head coach hasn’t left any holes in the team and surprise, that has taken them as far as the number one spot in the league.

I could end the article right here and call it a day, but there’s one giant elephant in the room that should really be addressed: Glass’ less than stellar play with the puck.

For most of the regular season, the general consensus was that Glass was horrendous whenever he touched the puck. He’s gotten better over time, but with a -12 plus/minus rating he still seems like a liability going into the playoffs.

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But Glass actually isn’t as awful as people say he is. As a matter of fact, Glass is 19th in giveaways with only 15. Meanwhile, Kreider had 46 giveaways, Nash is up there with 42, and both are lauded to be great handling the puck. Nevertheless, giveaways weren’t too big of a problem in the regular season and it shouldn’t be in the playoffs. When the Rangers have unparalleled speed, it makes up for a lot of mistakes.

So no, Glass is not a liability going into the playoffs. While he’s not providing much offense, a lot of the stuff he accomplishes for the team isn’t in the books. Glass has the intangibles and having him in the playoffs guarantees that the Rangers are going to attack the game from every angle, physically and mentally.

With Glass and all of the other pieces to the puzzle in place, Vigneault sees the bigger picture when it comes to the New York Rangers in the playoffs. And that picture sure as heck includes the 2015 Stanley Cup.

Next: Rick Nash Must Silence the Critics in the First Round

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