New York Rangers Cup Hopes are Pinned to D 4-5-6

It's All About Depth on D as we head towards the Finish Line

New York Rangers v Vegas Golden Knights
New York Rangers v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The New York Rangers are in it to Win It, This Year.  In order for this to happen, they Must Get above-average performances from their #1 Goalie from here on out.  They Must Get a higher buy-in from all forwards, to playing Tougher Overall Team Defense.  And all of their Defensemen must step up their game and reduce their turnovers.  It’s as simple as that.

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In October and November, the Blueshirts played a Puck-Possession, Patient game, limiting their overall number of turnovers during a game.  Since Mid-November, the Rangers have been playing a “loose style” and getting away with it.  Unfortunately, time finally caught up to them in January, where injuries and suspensions showed the cracks that exist in the NYR Shield.  Depth on D has exposed Defensemen #4-5-6 on the NYR Depth Chart.  (Schneider #4-RFA, Lindgren #55-RFA, Gustafsson #56-UFA, Jones #6).

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Take note, I like all these players.  When the Blueshirts are flying and playing the “right way,” All Is Good. However, the reality is, when their A-Game is not there, turnovers creep in and it is from this group (#4, #55, #56, #6),  that things need to tighten up.  By no means am I absolving #8, #23, #79 from this conversation.  However, let’s just say that I have over $21Million reasons to believe (combined Salary of the Big 3), that when the chips are down, these three will step it up.  So, it is Defensemen #4-5-6 on the Depth Chart that need to play the right way from here on, or our Cup Dreams will be marked down as just another bad pass.

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I think Lindgren #55 is the key cog here.  I like his overall game and toughness.  He will be a Restricted Free Agent at the end of the 2024 season.  Maybe, the uncertainty of a future contract and potential of being part of a trade, is playing with his mind.  I would like to see the Rangers give him a nice New Contract that benefit  both the Player and the Team, so #55 can focus and dial in his game again.

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Schneider #4, Gustafsson #56, and Jones #6 just need to stop turning the puck over and make the outlet pass faster.  They need to "Box Out" in front of their net, hold their ground, keep players to the outside, and play tougher.  Period.  Opposition forwards should be apprehensive about going towards the front of the Rangers net.  They should feel fear and pain when entering this area.  Right Now, They Don’t.  It’s about your next contract boys, step it up.

New York Rangers Record as of February 05.2024
30-16-3 = 63 pts   (Pen’s Picks ytd: 36-24)
1st - in the Metropolitan Division
3rd - in Eastern Conference
6th – Tied - Overall in NHL

My View from the Cheap Seats    
Section: TV     Row: PVR     Seat: The Couch

For those of you who still watch the Stanley Cup Finals, even though our beloved New York Rangers are not in it,  you will notice that Depth on Defense is the crucial factor on Stanley Cup Winning Teams.  Last year the Vegas Defense Corps were all Big, Strong, and Mobile.  They had impressive depth at the D position and Defensemen #4, #5, and #6 arguably won it for them, by keeping the opposition at bay. (McNabb#3, Hague #14, and Whitecloud #2)

For the New York Rangers, the wins were as easy as 1-2-3 up until the Christmas Break.  Now for the remainder of the season and beyond, it’s All About Depth on D 4-5-6, in NY.  You don’t have to take my word for it, it’s simply past experience talking.

Quote of the Day:
“Experience is a truer guide than the words of others “
Leonardo Da Vinci – Renaissance Polymath