Rangers Report Cards: Grading the Right Defenseman

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers leaves the ice following a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers leaves the ice following a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – APRIL 18: Braden Schneider #4 of the New York Rangers checks Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils during the second period of Game One in the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on April 18, 2023, in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – APRIL 18: Braden Schneider #4 of the New York Rangers checks Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils during the second period of Game One in the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on April 18, 2023, in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Rangers Report Cards: Braden Schneider: B (A)

Schneider might not have the spotlight like Kakko, Lafreniere, and Miller, but he’s been holding his fort on the third pair like a champ. Think of him as the unsung hero of the blue line. He’s been there, quietly doing his thing, like the guy who always brings the best snacks to the party.

Talking numbers, for a guy on the third pair, Schneider brought more firepower than you’d expect. Five goals and 18 points in 81 games with a 3.4 defensive points share– not bad. And get this: he tied with Ryan Lindgren in points – a bit like hanging out with the cool kids in school.

Schneider’s like a hits-and-blocks magician – he put up 147 hits and blocked 130 shots like a goalie who wandered into the wrong neighborhood. And let’s not forget, he’s following in Captain Trouba’s footsteps, bringing that rough and tough energy to the game.

Now, about his playmaking skills – it’s like he’s got a GPS for forward transitioning. Yet natural stat trick says he generated around 46.28 expected goals, which sounds a bit like a polite way of saying he made some nice plays, but not all led to fireworks.

On the flip side, his defensive dance wasn’t always smooth. The “expected goals against” stat wasn’t exactly his BFF at 63.38, the ninth-worst on the team.  He also was outworked in his end, as the Rangers were outshot 292-211 when he was on the ice.

Schneider had his share of critics, and rightfully so. Yet, he broke Blueshirts camp and became the go-to guy for stabilizing the third pair. He might not have been in the ideal position to shine being on the bottom of the depth chart, but he held his own, even if the numbers sometimes said otherwise.

In the playoffs, Schneider’s point tally was like my chances of becoming an astronaut – zero. His on-ice stats didn’t do too well either. Shots(88-133), Scoring chances (39-71), and expected goals(3.45 for, 7.09 against) were against him. The Devils were his testy rival in the playground.

That said, let’s cut him some slack; he’s only 21 and still learning the ropes.

Playoffs-wise, well, we’ll call it a learning experience.

With a mix of Jones and Erik Gustafsson and a more structured coaching approach under Peter Laviolette, the Schneider story continues. He might not be the Adam Fox everyone hoped for right out of the gate, but who is?

Schneider still has time to sharpen his skills, and he might surprise us all in the next chapter. For a team hungry for young talent, Schneider is like a trusty toolkit – not flashy, but oh-so-valuable.

And keep your eyes peeled because the next chapter in his contract saga is just around the corner. After the upcoming season, Schneider will be a restricted free agent, giving Rangers General Manager Chris Drury another bridge deal to negotiate.