How the 2023-24 New York Rangers rank at the midway point
After a much-needed 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday, the New York Rangers have now played 42 games this season. This marks the half-way point (plus a game) of the 2023-2024 campaign which has already been a roller coaster of a ride. From getting off to one of the best starts in franchise history, to getting hit with the injury bug, to falling into a bit of a slump, the Rangers still find themselves among the top of the leader boards.
After 42 games, the Rangers hold a record of 27-13-2. Despite the recent string of losses, they still hold the lead in the Metropolitan division. This lead that was once significant, is now only down to three points, as the Carolina Hurricanes are breathing down the Blueshirts’ necks. In the Eastern Conference, the Rangers are tied for second place. They hold an identical record to the Florida Panthers and three points behind the Boston Bruins. After being atop the league for a stretch, New York now sits tied in 5th place.
The Rangers ranked highly in many different facets of the game throughout their blazing start. After hitting a skid, it is interesting to see where they stack up compared to the other contenders in the league.
2023-24 New York Rangers Rankings
For a large portion of the season, the Rangers relied heavily on both their penalty kill and their power play. This still holds true, but recent struggles have proven that special teams can be the Rangers’ knight in shining armor, or their kryptonite.
After leading the league with a power play percentage of over 30%, the Rangers man-advantage unit has slowed down a bit. They now hold a percentage of 28.2%, which is still good for second in the NHL at the mid-season mark.
The penalty kill unit has also been solid all season, residing in the top five league-wide for the majority of the year. Currently, they hold a success rate of 83.9%, which has them ranked seventh in the league. While they still remain among the league’s best, both the power play and penalty kill have cooled off throughout their rough stretch.
Even strength scoring
The level of play at even strength has been one of the biggest concerns for the Rangers this season. They are still looking for more consistency among their top players, and are in desperate need of bottom six scoring. Through 42 games, the Rangers have scored only 97 even strength goals. This ranks them 19th in the NHL.
This is an area that needs to be improved if the Rangers plan on making a run at the Stanley Cup. Especially given the fact that the special teams play has dropped off slightly, they can no longer rely on it to win them games. This means that the Rangers will have to find ways to score during 5-on-5 play, or they will continue to struggle.
The Rangers have had some interesting story lines developing in the crease this season. No one would have bet that Jonathan Quick would be undefeated through ten games and that Igor Shesterkin’s save percentage would drop below .910% at any point in time. However, both of those have happened. At the halfway mark, Shesterkin holds a record of 17-10-0 with a save percentage of .903 and a GAA of 2.83. Quick sits with a record of 9-3-2, a save percentage of .912, and a GAA of 2.49.
As a team, New York ranks 13th in save percentage this season. They hold a collective percentage of .902 thanks to the efforts of Shesterkin, Quick, and one excellent performance from Louis Domingue. The Rangers would certainly love to see Shesterkin return to his .920 or better save percentage that we have been used to over the last several seasons. Of course, defending better in front of him would drastically help his cause.
Here is where the Rangers rank in various other stat categories after 42 games:
Face offs – 2nd (54.3%)
Goals for – 10th (137)
Goals against – 7th (119)
Goal differential – 8th (+18)
Shots taken – 11th (1,326)
Shots against – 6th (1,219)
It has been an interesting season thus far, to say the least. A incredible start followed by a worrisome skid leaves the Rangers’ fate up in the air. With the trade deadline approaching, it will be interesting to see what moves General Manager Chris Drury decides to make in order to turn this team into a true contender.