Rangers Report Cards: Gord Murphy: B
Gord Murphy handled the Rangers’ defense. He had the unenviable task of wrangling the Rangers’ defense this season. It’s like he was handed a bunch of wild squirrels and asked to turn them into synchronized swimmers – a tough gig. However, let’s dive in and see what went down in blue-line battles.
Murphy’s defense squad had moments of glory but knew how to keep things interesting. The Rangers penalty kill was 13th in the regular season with an 81.2% success rate and third in the playoffs with an 83.3% success rate.
They clocked in at 12th place with 2.97 Goals-per 60, according to Money Puck – not too shabby, right? They were fourth in the league regarding blocked shots, swatting away 248 like they were playing a volleyball game. And when it came to allowing rebound shots, they stood their ground, ranking ninth with 224. However, their +54.37 Rebound shots Above Expected placed them 15th.
In the world of rebound goals against, New York tied for 13th place with 34 goals. That said, only about 15.74% of the goals they allowed came from rebounds, which planted them firmly in the sixth spot.
However, they allowed 265 high-danger shots, which was 16th, and made 809 giveaways, which put them in 27th place. Of those 809, 394 were in the defensive zone, ranked 21st. The Rangers also were middle of the pack in blocked shots, placing 15th with 1,205.
The Rangers were also horrendous at defending the crease at even strength and yielded 175 rebounds, ranked 21st. Yet due to great goaltending by Igor Shesterkin and Jaroslav Halak, which can be attributed to fantastic coaching by Benoit Allaire, New York’s goalie coach, the Rangers were 15th in rebound goals against with 25. They finished ninth with a .836 save percentage on rebound attempts at even strength.
Murphy, who had been riding alongside the Gerard Gallant train since 2021-22. He might’ve had a hand in steering clear of some young talents, like Zac Jones, on the blue line – like the “no new friends” policy, but for defense. And there’s that dump-and-chase strategy that got a bit of flak – ah, the love-hate relationship with tactics!
Murphy had moments of triumph but also had the defense dancing to its unpredictable beat. It’s like he was a conductor with a stubborn orchestra.