Due to the injury to New York Rangers’ forward, Mats Zuccarello, forward James Sheppard will most likely see his first postseason action for the Blueshirts.
New York Rangers
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With New York Rangers‘ forward,
Mats Zuccarello, out indefinitely with a possible concussion, we will most likely see 4th line forward, James Sheppard, for the first time this postseason in Game 1 of the 2nd round of playoffs vs. the Washington Capitals.
Now granted, Sheppard cannot possibly replace Zuccarello in the Rangers’ starting lineup because one, Zuccarello has far more skill and two, while Zuccarello is a 2nd line forward, Sheppard is a 4th line forward.
In the regular season, Sheppard recorded 7 goals and 11 assists in 71 games, however, most of that was with the San Jose Sharks. The Rangers did not acquire Sheppard until the trade deadline. So with the Rangers, Sheppard recorded 2 goals and no assists in 14 games.
Although a very small sample size, what Sheppard seems to bring to the table is someone who can handle the puck well, create some offense, play solid defense, and is versatile, since he can play both wing and center.
Sheppard also has a very good nose for the net, creating good screens, and making good deflections. Click on the video below to see a little of what I mean.
So, all in all, it will be nice to see how Sheppard plays in his first postseason game as a Ranger but just because he is most likely taking Zuccarello’s roster spot for Game 1 of the 2nd round of the playoffs vs. the Capitals, he cannot be looked at to fill Zuccarello’s shoes, or skates, at all. To carry Zuccarello’s workload and then some, look no further than veteran winger, Martin St. Louis.