Can you feel it? The panic is starting to set in. The New York Rangers and their fans are ready for drastic measures as this season careens into oblivion.
The New York Rangers have lost four in a row and have looked pretty bad in the process. They are lucky that the NHL doesn’t have the same format as the Swedish Hockey League where the worst teams are relegated to a lesser league. If they did, the Rangers could be an AHL team next season!
The reason for this early season disaster? It’s David Quinn’s inability to coach. No, it’s Chris Kreider‘s disappearing act. No, it’s the penalty kill (and Lindy Ruff). No, it’s the powerless power play. No, it’s Brady Skjei playing scared. No, it’s the referees who have it out for the Blueshirts. No, it’s Brendan Smith even being in the lineup No, it’s Marc Staal‘s lack of speed. No, it’s the misuse of Kaapo Kakko. No, it’s Pavel Buchnevich‘s inconsistency. No, it’s the over use of Jesper Fast. No, it’s the lack of commitment to the youth movement. And on and on and on.
Whoa. Let’s all just take a step back and really assess the situation. This is a very young team. HockeyReference.com lists the team’s average age at 26.8 making the team the eighth youngest team in the league. Subtract Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Micheal Haley and the Rangers are the youngest team in the league.
Ten out of the 21 players on the active roster were not on the roster to start the 2018-19 season. There are three rookies on the team and four players with one year in the NHL. That’s seven players with one year or less NHL experience. No other team is even close (the Columbus Blue Jackets have five rookies on their roster).
Of all of the four forward lines that started the Vancouver game, the only trio that saw any action together before this season was Strome, Smith and Fast and they have played all of 45 minutes of ice time as a unit. Every other line never played together before this season.
On defense, the only pair that has seen action together before this season was Staal and DeAngelo and they have played 437 minutes together. No other defense pair played as a unit before this season.
This team doesn’t know itself yet. They need time to figure it out and all the practice in the world won’t tell the story, it has to be in games.