New York Rangers: Comparing Today’s Fourth Line to the 2014 Fourth Line


In 2014, the New York Rangers had a fourth line that was not only reliable, but also effective in wearing opponents down. Now, after a few years of trial and error, the Rangers seem to have found another formula to be four lines deep in 2017.

2013-2014 Fourth Line

The fourth line that New York Rangers carried into the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals consisted of Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett, and Dominic Moore, with Daniel Carcillo rotating in from time to time.

The biggest key to these four players game was their ability to bring a physical, hard-nosed forecheck, wearing opponents down and even contributing with a big goal sometimes. They were a line that was expected to score, but not due to lack of effort.

By the end of the regular season Boyle, Moore, Dorsett, and Carcillo accounted for 19 of the Rangers goals, while collectively contributing 47 points.

Their time in the offensive zone was not the only thing to be appreciated about them, though. This fourth line’s defensive prowess might have been considered the best in the league at the time. The Rangers carried a penalty kill percentage above 85 percent in the regular and postseason in 2014, good enough for third in the league.

Moore and Boyle were also the only two full-time Rangers in 2014 to carry a faceoff percentage above 50 percent. While faceoffs can be argued in correlation to offensive production, there is no doubt that winning faceoffs on the penalty kill can be huge in clearing the defensive zone.

The Next Two Seasons

Over the next two seasons, the only consistent fourth line piece that remained was Moore. He cemented himself as the permanent fourth line center and remained just as dependable.

More from Analysis

Moore’s wingers became the emphasis of struggle in this two-year fourth line limbo, highlighted by the managements need to play toughness over skill. When the Rangers had the ability to start players such as Oscar Lindberg, Emerson Etem, or Marek Hrivik, they were instead left out of the lineup to make room for Tanner Glass.

Tanner Glass was clearly not the answer and while his presence in the lineup might have negatively affected the team, it might have served its purpose as a stepping stone by pushing management in the right direction.

The only other successful piece in this time was Viktor Stalberg, who unfortunately for the Rangers, took a new opportunity in Carolina during 2016’s free agency. Stalberg’s mix between size, skill, and speed seemed impossible to replace at the right price.

The Rangers Fourth Line Today

Live Feed

Will the NY Islanders wear the fisherman jersey this season?
Will the NY Islanders wear the fisherman jersey this season? /

Eyes On Isles

  • Three players who can make or break the New York Rangers seasonPuck Prose
  • Penguins News: Carl Hagelin is now retiring from the NHLPuck Prose
  • 3 players the New York Rangers should trade ASAPPuck Prose
  • NHL 24: Predicting the highest rated players at every positionApp Trigger
  • 3 reasons the New York Rangers won't win the Stanley Cup in 2024Puck Prose
  • That brings us to this season, where the Rangers seem to have completely remodeled their fourth line to emphasize speed and skill over physicality and toughness.

    At the start of the season, the fourth line included Michael Grabner, Brandon Pirri and Jesper Fast with Lindberg missing time due to injury. These players immediately had their impact in the lineup and even earned well-deserved promotions when injuries plagued the Rangers.

    As Grabner, Pirri, and Fast were moved up and down the lineup, new players had to fill the void on the fourth line, but speed and skill were still emphasized by their replacements.

    The Rangers have since claimed Matt Puempel from Ottawa, while also recalling Hrivik and Nicklas Jensen from Hartford.

    While Hrivik was leading Hartford in scoring at the time, his play in the NHL models Fast’s game as an offensive workhorse who rarely misses his defensive assignment. Puempel and Jensen won’t turn heads offensively, but they keep their line mates rolling with skill and speed.


    It is no secret where Jeff Gorton and Alain Vigneault’s ideology lands when it comes to constructing the Rangers fourth line today.

    Where toughness and physicality was the emphasis in 2014, the team now evenly spreads speed and skill throughout the lineup making them offensively dangerous no matter which line is out there in 2017.

    Next: Chris Kreider is Back in Beast Mode

    When the Rangers are healthy, their ideal fourth line includes some combination of Lindberg, Grabner, Pirri, and Fast. Between those four players, they have accounted for 29 goals and 63 points, only halfway through the regular season. This year’s fourth line not only provides help on specialty teams, but supplies a higher scoring potential than most fourth lines in the Rangers past.