Honorable Mentions: Jesper Fast and Mika Zibanejad
I wanted to give these two players a shout out because they are a unique breed.
Jesper Fast and Mika Zibanejad both are forwards that play a strong defensive game. This is kind of play is key to a team’s success, but generally, these players tend not to see as high statistics as their strictly offensive counterparts.
Both Fast and Zibanejad were out for a period of time with injuries — Zibanejad with a broken leg, Fast with a shoulder injury — but their presence was felt in every game they played.
They play a fast, physical game and are extremely important when it comes to the Rangers forecheck.They constantly win batters along the boards and have enough skill to work the puck up ice.
And both saw an uptick in production during the postseason as well and looked strong as ever. Zibanejad led the Rangers in the playoffs with nine points (two goals, seven assists) and Fast was not far behind notching three goals and three assists for six points.
As a top six player, it was important to see Zibanejad come up big in the playoffs. Fast, I would argue, was more of a pleasant surprise.
To see two players that work so hard from game-to-game come up with big points in some of the most important games of the season was exciting.