If all continues to go well, the New York Rangers and a 23 other teams will begin competing for the Stanley Cup on Saturday
The New York Rangers will be one of the youngest team competing and they certainly are composed of many younger players who lack playoff experience.
The Rangers have not qualified for a crack at the Stanley Cup since the 2016-17 season losing in Round Two. As always, the goal is to be the last team standing but ever since the roster rebuild, the sense that a Cup could be ours in a few years’ time has been heightened. While Rangers fans have been patient, this atypical season has promised the Rangers, who were on the cusp of a potential postseason run, an invitation to the Cup running.
Although the team is led by a pack of veteran players, what lies beneath that group is a core of young hockey players eager to get back to the competition and become franchise names. Here’s a lot at some of the younger players for the New York Rangers. We’ll start with the Rangers with more NHL experience, but none in the postseason.
Rangers in their first postseason
Alexandar Georgiev: Although the 23-year-old Bulgarian goaltender is the least likely to be seen initially between the pipes against the Carolina Hurricanes he has come up great for the Rangers in his Rangers career. In 77 games he has a record of 35-31-7 and a career save percentage of .913%. Over the span of his NHL career he played well against some stronger opponents.
Performance against Carolina: Georgiev has only faced Carolina twice and has not seen a game against Carolina this season. The last time he faced the Canes was October 2018 in which the Rangers lost 5-8. He recorded a save percentage of .821% and saw 39 shots on net, while Petr Mrazek had a save percentage of .792% but only saw 24 shots. In March 2018, Georgiev met the Canes at Madison Square Garden which resulted in a 6-3 win for the Blueshirts. Georgiev posted a .932% after seeing 44 shots. Scott Darling at the opposite end of the ice recorded a .810% after 21 shot attempts.
Brendan Lemieux: Lemieux joined the Rangers late last season and ever since has been the primary source of grit on the ice. Despite being handed a suspension during the series, the 24 year old is potentially the most anxious to see Carolina go down, given his appreciation for the Hurricanes post-win celebratory antics. During the 78games he has skated with the Rangers, the tough winger registered 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) and would have no issue squaring up against a Cane which makes his presence valuable in a Cup chase.
Performance against Carolina: Lemieux had one goal this season against Carolina and did not face them last year as a Ranger. His rough style of play is sure to make the series interesting after he serves his two-game suspension. His physicality will be key against a team without patchy defense.
Brett Howden: A sophomore New York Ranger after his acquisition from the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018, Howden is still waiting to make a sizable impact with the club. In 136 games played with New York the center has 15 goals and 27 assists for a total of 42 career points. Despite averaging about .3 points a game Howden receives around 14 minutes a game of ice time on average. The good news with Howden is that he is young. Although he should be projected to collect around 25 points a season, the 21-year-old has time to work his way up.
Performance against Carolina: Howden competed in all four matches against Carolina this season and yet he was basically invisible. Still averaging about 14 minutes per game the only thing Howden accomplished in those 58 minutes was getting two shots on goal. In the previous season Howden competed twice against the Hurricanes and managed to record one assist in 26 minutes of ice time.
Filip Chytil: Another young player belonging to the sophomore core is Chytil. The 20 year old Czech center has seen success with the Rangers after moving up and down a bit between the AHL and the parent club. In 144 career games Chytil has tallied 49 total points, broken down into 26 goals and 23 assists. While Chytil is awarded about the same ice time as Howden the numbers prove Chytil is more deserving. Rangers Fans also saw that he was able to string together some applaudable performances this past season but cooled off before the pause. As with most of the young core it is simply too soon to see what types of players they will turn out to be, but seeing who can shine in the postseason could be key in solidifying a foundation to build this young team from.
Performance against Carolina: This regular season, Chytil had three points (one goal, two assists) in four games against Carolina. He also averaged about 14 minutes of playing time and registered six shots on net. Despite having the same amount of chances as Howden and the opportunity to play with more skilled teammates, you can tell Chytil is strides ahead of Howden at this point.
Ryan Lindgren: Lindgren, a smaller, yet rugged blueliner, should have plenty of opportunities to maximize some playoff experience. He’s been another reliable youngster for the Rangers despite his short tenure so far since we did not see much of him last season. The American defenseman has spent 65 with New York and picked up 14 points. While he focuses heavily on defense he has proven to be helpful assisting goals.
Performance against Carolina: Lindgren saw about 19 minutes of ice time per game against Carolina in which he picked up an assist and recorded three hits and five blocked shots. In a solid defensive team like Carolina, Lindgren will play an integral role as they try to overpower their opponent.
Tony DeAngelo: the offensively-minded fiery defender has been a Blueshirt since the 2017-18 season but will be entering his first postseason in what what was a breakout regular season for the 24 year old. In 161 games in blue, DeAngelo has 91 points (17 goals 72 assists) including three game winning goals. Although he cooled down slightly before the pause, it’ll be fun for Rangers fans to see DeAngelo participate in his first Cup run.
Performance against Carolina: Amidst this season’s sweep of the Canes, DeAngelo was able to collect four assists and block a few shots here and there. There was only one match in which he did not collect a point. The previous season was a split with the Canes, 2-2 in which DeAngelo had five points, two being goals, with again, only one game that wound up pointless for him. In 2017-18 he only met the Hurricanes once and did not get on the score sheet despite his four shots on goal.
Next up, a look at the rookies.