With the Rangers finally having a chance to practice after this rough stretch of games, Head Coach, Gerard Gallant is making some big changes to his power-play group. The normal lines are looking the same with the one change of Johnny Brodzinski getting called up in place of Tyler Motte who is still day-to-day.
The Rangers will also have K’Andre Miller back for their next game and will at least be back to playing a full group of 12 forwards and 6 defensemen. The major changes made have been to the power-play units. With all of this talent, Gallant is looking to balance his units and is looking to give them the best chances of succeeding.
Let’s take a look at the first new unit. Power-play one will include Adam Fox, Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane, Vincent Trocheck, and Alexis Lafreniere. On paper, this looks like a very talented and balanced group. However, my one question is who will be the shooter on this unit? Both Kane and Panarin like to pass more than shoot, Trocheck is more of a net-front presence and Lafreniere also likes to pass.
Both Kane and Panarin have great shots when they use them, but they do not use them enough. If a guess was going to be made, Lafreniere will likely be the shooter on this unit. Panarin will try to find Kane, but will Kane shoot? We have to hope so.
The second unit will consist of Jacob Trouba, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Filip Chytil, and Vladimir Tarasenko. Now, this unit has more of a clear setup. Zibanejad will shoot, Kreider in front of the net, Chytil in the bumper, and Tarasenko on the right wing. Tarasenko can either pass or shoot as can Zibanejad. This group looks more rounded out than the first as there are fewer questions to answer with this group.
Kaapo Kakko will be the odd man out to start, but if things continue to fail, he will likely replace Lafreniere on the power play. Miller could also replace Trouba on this unit since Trouba is not the greatest power-play quarterback in the world.
With this talent in these two units, we may finally see these two groups get an equal amount of time. Since the talent is spread out, the top unit can’t stay on the ice for 90 seconds anymore. Both groups need to get as close to an equal amount of time as possible because they are so talented and one unit should not be able to use all of the time if they are getting nothing done.
The Rangers are going into a tough final stretch of the season with very crucial games coming up. If the Rangers want the best chance of winning as many games as possible, they are going to need a strong power play. They have two units that can get the job done, but it could take time for them to adjust as the new players still need to get used to playing in this new system. It will now be a wait-and-see situation as the Rangers look to get back on track and hopefully finish the season strong.