New York Rangers headed for career seasons

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 14: Mika Zibanejad #93 and Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers talk during a break in the action against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Several New York Rangers are looking to hit statistical high marks this season.  A lot of the credit has to go to rookie coach David Quinn.

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been credited  with being the reason for the New York Rangers unexpected success this season.  But it hasn’t been just the netminder, several other veteran players are having career seasons.  Whether it be good health, luck or skill, some of the credit has to go to coach David Quinn for finding the right line combinations and being able to motivate these players to excel.  Here are the players headed for their best season under Quinn.

Chris Kreider

This season:  13g-6a-21pts
Projected totals:  42g-26a-68pts
Best season:   28g-25a-53pts (2016-17)

Chris Kreider is headed for the best year of his career. He is finally breaking out with the kind of numbers that were predicted for him when he began his career in the 2012  playoffs.  Already with a team leading 13 goals, he is projected to score 42 goals, 14 more than his personal best of 28.  He is also headed towards 26 assists and 68 points. The assist total is consistent with his usual numbers, but his goal explosion will improve on his career high in points by 15.  It’s been a long time coming.

Mike Zibanejad

This season:  8g-13a-21pts
Projected totals:  26g-42a-68pts
Best season:   21g-31a-51pts (2015-16)

Mika Zibanejad is quietly having the best season of his eight-year career and is living up to his role as the top center on the team.  He is projected to finish with 26 goals, 42 assists and 68 points.  While he scored 28 goals last season, the most assists he has ever had was 30 in his last year in Ottawa.  And think about it, if he  scored instead of hitting two posts against Ottawa on Tuesday night his goal projection would be 32.

Kevin Hayes

This season:  5g-12a-17pts
Projected totals:  16g-39a-55pts
Best season:   17g-32a-49pts  (2016-17)

It’s acknowledged that Kevin Hayes is having an excellent season in his walk year.  As dominant as he has been, statistically this season projects to be similar to his prior seasons in the NHL.  At his current rate, he will end up with 16 goals and 39 assists for 55 points.  The goal total is nowhere near last year’s 25, but he will establish career marks in assists and points.  His best season was in 2016-17 when he totaled 48 points.

Jimmy Vesey

This season: 8g-4a-12pts
Projected totals:  26g-13a-39pts
Best season:   17g-11a-28pts (2017-18)

Ever since he spurned Nashville and Buffalo to sign with the Rangers, hopes have been high for Harvard educated Jimmy Vesey.  As a Hobey Baker winner, expectations  were that he would be another Johnny Gaudreau.  When he didn’t become a prolific scorer, he became the target of critics who overlooked his gritty play and willingness to go into the dirty areas on the ice.  With a new coach and a Boston connection, Vesey is having the best season of his career.  He is projected to finish with 26 goals and 13 assists for 39 points, all as a third line player.  His previous career highs were 17 goals, 11 assists and 28 points. He’s clicking with rookie center Brett Howden and looks to get even better as the season goes on.

Tony DeAngelo

This season:  2g-6a-8pts
Projected totals:  6g-19a-25pts
Best season:   5g-9a-14pts (2016-17)

Tony DeAngelo has been one of the pleasant surprises this season and Quinn has to get most of the credit. Barring injury, he will play in more games than he ever has and he is just six points behind his career high of 14 with Arizona in his rookie year.  At this pace, he will end up with six goals and 19 assists for 25 points, almost double his best ever.  It’s clear that Quinn’s tough love and holding players accountable is having a positive effect on the 23-year-old.

Ryan Strome

This season: 2g-3a-5pts (including Edmonton)
Projected totals: 6g-9a-15pts
Best season:   17g-33a-50pts (2014-15)

He’s only been a Ranger for six games, but Ryan Strome already has a goal and two assists.  As  with Tony DeAngelo, he is a former first round draft  pick who falls into the reclamation project category.  Projected over a full 82 game season that would mean a 42 point season, his best in five years. Perhaps David Quinn can work his magic on Strome who despite being a six year NHL veteran is still only 25 years old

The Future

Can these players keep it up?  If the Rangers have a prayer of making the post-season they will need to.  It also remains to be seen if David Quinn can coax more from players like Vlad Namestnikov, Pavel Buchnevich and Kevin Shattenkirk.  If he can , it could mean more good things for the Broadway Blueshirts.