D, ADAM FOX(Team MVP)
Adam Fox only wanted to play for one NHL team, and the Rangers are thankful every day it was them.
The 2021 Norris Trophy winner remains one of the game’s best defensemen and has thrived ever since the January of 2021, when ex-Blueshirt Tony DeAngelo was traded, giving Fox the keys to the power play and the top spot on the penalty kill.
His 38 assists and 48 points are amongst the top five compared to other blue-liners around the league, and his 25:08 average time on ice is more than any other defenseman in the Metropolitan division. The 24-year-old is in the first year of a seven-year $9.5 million he signed back in November of 2021 and has been worth every penny.
D, RYAN LINDGREN
The fearless warrior has thrived with Adam Fox as one of the top defensive pairs in the game and has a staggering +/- of 23. GM Chris Drury has a cornerstone defensive core, and it’ll be interesting to see how much he gets this Summer after his contract expires.
D, JACOB TROUBA
Off the ice, Trouba is the right man to captain the Rangers, whether it’s calling players-only meetings, throwing helmets, or getting into brawls to wake up his team, his passion speaks volumes in the locker room.
However, it’s been a different story on the ice as Trouba has statistically been the worst Rangers defenseman this year with a -6+/- rating, and his 14 points in 49 games project him to finish below last season’s totals of 39 points in 81 contests. Although he paces the team with 101 blocked shots and 147 hits, you expect more from a player making $16 million annually, particularly your captain.
D, K’ANDRE MILLER
Miller’s play has elevated following a slow start, in the form of his 20 assists and 25 points being a career-best ahead of his impending payday this Summer. Yet defensively, his stats are down, and you don’t need to look further than his +/- at 1. It’s unclear the cause of the regression from a +23 last season, but his primary partner and team captain Jacob Trouba hasn’t helped matters.
At 6’5, the 23-year-old is unique in the sense he defends while skating forward and has learned how to use his long reach to garner a slew of takeaways while being regarded as another one of the cornerstone defensemen the Rangers would love to keep for years to come.
D, BEN HARPUR
The Harp will continue to play in New York for another few seasons. As he enters the break fresh off his hard-earned 2-year $787K AAV extension, the defenseman has solidified himself as New York’s sixth defenseman, a position previously up for grabs between Zac Jones and Libor Hajek.
Harpur has done this through his steady play with his partner Braden Schneider, and while the pair doesn’t light up the stat sheet, they’re consistent in what they do, keeping the opponents’ offenses at bay.
D, BRADEN SCHNEIDER
The 21-year-old, selected 19th overall in the 2020 draft by the Rangers after they obtained an extra pick in the Brady Skeji trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, is currently in Year Two of his three-year $925,000 ELC deal, and is another defenseman that’ll force Chris Druy’s hand upon reaching free agency.
Where Schneider lacks in offensive production he makes up for it with his defensive prowess, which recently caught the eye of Gerard Gallant, who said Schneider is “ Always prepared and is consistent in the way he plays defense.”