New York Rangers: 21 thoughts after 21 games

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: The New York Rangers celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: The New York Rangers celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 01: Brendan Lemieux #48 of the New York Rangers celebrates with teammates after scoring his first goal as a Ranger in the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on March 1, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 01: Brendan Lemieux #48 of the New York Rangers celebrates with teammates after scoring his first goal as a Ranger in the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on March 1, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers have played 21 games to reach the quarter pole in their 2019-20 season. Here are twenty random thoughts for Rangers fans to consider as the team continues work on the rebuild while striving to be competitive at the same time.

1. Is Mika Zibanejad healthy?  They say it’s a neck injury, but you really gotta figure that this is another concussion that has kept him out of the line-up for the last 12 games.  If that is the case, it is something that New York Rangers fans should be seriously worried about.

2.  Artemi Panarin is a god. He single-handedly makes Rangers games must see TV.  He has surpassed all expectations as a free agent signee and will go down as one of the best free agent signings in the history of the franchise. His performance against the Capitals earlier this week was sublime.

3. Kaapo Kakko is the real deal.  It may have taken a few games for him to find his stride, but boy is he learning the NHL game quickly. Fully expect him to be in the Calder Memorial Trophy conversation at the end of the season and once this kid really figures it all out, he is going to be a stud.

4. Henrik Lundqvist is still very, very good and deserves so much more respect than he gets. It’s honestly amazing how many Rangers fans DO NOT UNDERSTAND his contract and how the team simply can’t trade him unless he wants to be traded. And by the way, Pekka Rinne is the same age as Hank, why don’t you hear any talk about him being too old to play?

5. David Quinn is not, nor should he be on the coaching hot seat. The Filip Chytil storyline backs this up more so than efforts like Friday night in Ottawa.

6. Speaking of Chytil, he is a new man child.  There were some comments made during the live chat on this site during the Capitals game about how he is a totally different player after his stint in Hartford to start the year.  Could not agree more, and that should have everyone beyond excited.

7. The Colorado Avalanche look like they would be a really good spot for the Rangers to trade Alexandar Georgiev, and make no mistake about it, the Rangers are trading him.

8.  How the hell are the Islanders doing it? Hate those guys.  The good news is you can really see the old rivalry heating up when the Rangers and Islanders square off for three games in nine days in the middle of January.  Will be lots of fun.

9.  The young Rangers defense men are so interesting to watch.  Sure they make a few mistakes, well more than a few, but you can see those mistakes eventually going away and then all you are left with is a young and exciting core that can put some points on the board.

10. The crowd at Madison Square Garden really needs to pick up the energy.  It’s has been a morgue at times this year.  It’s almost embarrassing.  By contrast the crown in Montreal last night was fantastic.  They react to everything that happens on the ice. The Brendan Lemieux fight with Tom Wilson was the loudest the Garden faithful have been all year.  Kakko’s first goal would be second.

12.  Brendan Lemieux loves being a Ranger, and watching the way he interacts with Kaapo Kakko on the ice should make all of us want him to stay a Ranger.  The fight with Wilson is just icing on the cake. His performance in Montreal should guarantee a contract.

13.  Don’t know if the Adam Fox signing makes the Jacob Trouba signing seem a little less significant, but would Jeff Gorton have signed Trouba if Fox was on this team last year? You can kiss the Rangers second round pick in this coming draft good bye, Fox is here to stay.

14.  Honestly haven’t given Vitali Kravtsov one second of thought (until now) since he decided to go back to the KHL.  Wondering if that is a good thing or a bad thing. He has one goal and one assist in the KHL.

15. William Nylander will make just under $7 million this year and for the next four years playing in Toronto.  Is there any question that the Rangers should offer a similar deal to Chris Kreider? This should really kick the comment section into high gear.

16. Mats Zuccarello has four goals and seven assists playing for the Minnesota Wild.  Ranger fans need to know this. Not so they can feel better about the late season trade to Dallas last year, more so that they can feel worse. Zuuuc would have been fun to watch with all these kids, and he would have made them all better.  To rub it in, we get to watch him on Monday night when he makes his return to the Garden with Minnesota.

17.   Let’s hope that Lias Andersson can write a similar story to the one Chytil is writing. Gotta think that Andersson would be so much better if he played with talent on his wings and not plug-ins. But with Brett Howden picking things up recently you have to wonder if Andersson isn’t bound for Edmonton in a trade for Jesse Puljujarvi. I actually wrote about this scenario back in June.  The link is below.

Related Story. A not so off-the-wall trade proposal. light

18.  As much as every Ranger fan should love and respect Marc Staal, you can see that this is not going to end for him the same way it is coming to an end for Hank.  That’s a shame.

19. Is there one Rangers fan out there who has anything bad to say about Jesper Fast?  Doesn’t matter how much talent the Rangers may have in the pipeline, you have to keep this guy around for as long a possible.  He is a nightly example of how to play hockey the right way.

20.  Igor Shesterkin is the real deal.  His stat line in Hartford is just ridiculous. Don’t we want to see this kid with the Rangers really soon to see how those insane stats translate to the NHL? Blue Line Station made that proposal a while back.  Here’s the link.

light. Related Story. A crazy suggestion about the goaltending situation

21. The season has pretty much gone as expected to this point.  Lots of ups and downs with the word most often used to describe the team being “inconsistent”. The game against the Canadiens was essentially the whole season expressed in 60 minutes. That probably won’t change too much over the next twenty games but if that inconsistency starts to tilt in the wrong directions, it will go a long way toward determining the fate of Ryan Strome and Chris Kreider.

Related Story. A big comeback victory. light