Sammy Blais may not have been the most hyped up player the New York Rangers added this summer, but he surely has the attention of fans now. He’s put together a strong preseason, as he’s not only played very physically, but also has contributed on the scoresheet. When looking at his expected role for the regular season, this could be a very good sign of what’s next to come.
His preseason goal against the New Jersey Devils displays perfectly that the 25-year-old winger also comes with a bit more skill than fans may have realized. After stealing an attempted breakout pass, Blais deked around a few Devils as if they were practice cones. From here, he put the finishing touch on his masterful solo effort and scored on veteran goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
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— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 7, 2021
It’s hard not to get excited seeing a player score a goal like that – whether it’s the preseason, regular season or playoffs.
Blais could be a very good addition for the Rangers.
Expecting Blais to do this on a regular basis may be a bit far-fetched, but he does have a good shot of providing solid depth scoring to the Rangers’ bottom-six. His production last season was also not bad in the slightest, as he scored eight goals and had 15 points in 36 games. He did have some injury trouble that limited his action, but if he can avoid the same fate and produce at a similar rate for the Blueshirts, it would be quite beneficial. Over a full 82-game schedule, setting aside injuries, he would have been on pace for 34 points last season.
A huge reason why the Rangers brought Blais in was because of his immense physicality. There is no denying that the team aimed to get tougher after all that occurred last season. That’s why they added Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Reaves and Jarred Tinordi as well. In Blais’ 36 games with the Blues last season, he had a notable 103 hits. In 119 career games thus far, he has a total of 366 hits. Thus, this is a major part of his game, and it will certainly come in handy for the Rangers. Along with Reaves, he will make the bottom-six significantly harder to play against.
Yet, if he is a scoring threat during the regular season, Blais could be such an entertaining player to watch. He of course has to remain healthy to be most effective for the Rangers, and he has had some trouble doing so these last few seasons. Over the last three years, he has missed 52 games due to his injury trouble. Yet, for now, fans should remain optimistic on this front. For now, he is completely healthy and looking very good in the process.
Seeing the Rangers trade Pavel Buchnevich was hard, especially with the return not netting the team a first-round pick along with Blais. Buchnevich just had a season where he scored 20 goals and added 28 assists in 54 games. Expecting Blais to produce at a similar rate to Buchnevich is ludicrous, but that does not mean that he automatically isn’t going to be a good addition for the Blueshirts.
The preseason couldn’t have been much better for Blais, but now, it’s time for him to translate his success to the regular season. With seeing how confident he looks whilst on the ice so far, this honestly shouldn’t be an issue for him.