Rangers report cards: Grading New York’s Centers

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Curious to know how New York’s centers fared this season? Dive into our Rangers report cards as we grade their performances and impact on the ice. 

COLUMBUS, OHIO – APRIL 08: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers skates with the puck while Gavin Bayreuther #15 of the Columbus Blue Jackets defends during the first period at Nationwide Arena on April 08, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Getty Images)

Happy Summer Blue Line Station readers. The hope is that you’re enjoying your offseason after a wild winter. When the New York Rangers acquired Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko at the trade deadline, Stanley Cup dreams were practically within reach until they weren’t.

Against the New Jersey Devils, our Rangers went from a promising 2-0 lead to a gut-wrenching crash in the first round of the playoffs. The Devils, led by a third-string goalie named Akira Schmid, handed us a reality check by shutting us out in games 5 and 7. It was a tough pill, and the pain didn’t stop there. The Carolina Hurricanes quickly eliminated Schmid and his crew in the next round.

As if that weren’t enough, my Devils-fan friends have had a field day rubbing salt in the wound. Talk about a rough summer, right? Yet there’s hope on the horizon. The unexpected nosedive prompted some changes behind the scenes, with Gerard Gallant stepping aside and Peter Laviolette taking the reins.

Money matters threw us a curveball, though. We couldn’t hold onto Tarasenko and Kane due to cap constraints, so we had to do creative maneuvering in the free agency pool. October can’t come soon enough for us as we aim to erase the memory of how last season left us hanging.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Amid the chaos, some standout performances shone through. So, buckle up as I break down each player’s journey through the 2022-23 season. For those who recall, I did one at the season’s midpoint and will reference those grades in parentheses. Today, the men down the middle will be the “centers” of attention. Don’t worry – we’ll cover the wingers, defenseman, coaching squad, and front office in the coming days. Please stick around, and let’s relive the highs and lows of Rangers hockey!

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