The New York Rangers have been bitten with a severe case of the injury bug. The production of Kevin Shattenkirk needs to be replaced and the Rangers have a few choices.
Perhaps the most highly anticipated part of this season for the New York Rangers was Kevin Shattenkirk quarterbacking the power play. The New Rochelle native’s dream was to don the Rangers’ sweater, and that came true this past offseason.
However, that dream has not gone as anyone had envisioned. After a quick start of 17 points in his first 18 games, the defenseman hit a wall. It was recently revealed that Shattenkirk was playing through a torn meniscus for the entirety of the regular season.
Obviously, the injury has held Shattenkirk back from playing up to his ability. At this point, the Rangers cannot afford to play worse than 500 hockey the rest of the way. The playoffs are not totally out of the question, but it will take some change. With those things in mind, it’s time to look around for some players to fill his position.
1. Ryan McDonagh
The Rangers’ captain is one of the only reasons the Rangers have had any defense at all this season. While he has yet to notch a goal, he has recorded 22 assists. McDonagh has quarterbacked the power play in the past and shown mixed results. He is no slouch in the offensive zone but can be prone to turnovers or poor shot selection.
Even after his abdomen injury, he has come back strong and played much better as of late. with He is the first name that comes to mind when filling the production of Shattenkirk during his recovery time. He can definitely pick up the extra minutes on the man advantage, it is just a matter of not overworking him.
2. Brady Skjei
The 23-year-old young and talented defenseman is a blossoming star in just his second season in the league. His offensive numbers of two goals and 12 assists do not do his impact on the ice true justice. Skjei is strong on the puck and the Rangers best defenseman at transitioning from defense to offense.
The defenseman has a nose for the puck and excels at winning puck battles behind the net. The Minnesota university alum has played power play time in limited spurts in the past, but he has never gotten prolonged experience. The rest of the season would be a good way to test out Skjei and see just what he is capable of in the offensive end.
3. Nick Holden
Before everyone does a double take of his name, yes, that does in fact say Nick Holden. Holden takes a lot of heat for not playing good enough defense. However, he’s got the ability to create offense in five on five situations. And for a team that’s struggled to score, they’ll take anything they can get.
He has also been tasked with playing heavier minutes than he ever has in his entire career. Sheltering Holden and giving him opportunities to play on the man advantage are the kitchen sink approach. At this point the Rangers have absolutley nothing to lose, they are already losing, experimenting cannot hurt.
4. Anthony DeAngelo
Another more un-proven option is DeAngelo. Against the Kings on Sunday night, he played a good game, one of the better ones in his young Rangers career.
And while one game cannot justify him for such a major position, the Rangers are lacking in well-suited options. The defenseman’s small sample size cannot be used against him, he has considerable offensive talent. This is a more long-term approach for the organization, DeAngelo is going to be part of the team down the road.