3 Stars of the Week: European Edition Nov 7, 2017

The Rangers are close to turning the corner. After an abysmal start to the season, the Rangers are 4-2-2 in their last 8 games and have beaten top-tier teams (at the time) in Vegas and Tampa Bay, in back to back games. Chris Kreider has started scoring, Henrik Lundqvist is rounding into form, and the Rangers forward lines have stabilized (somewhat) after Cristoval “Boo” Nieves was inserted into the lineup at center. If the Rangers can get Ryan McDonagh, Brendan Smith, and Brady Skjei performing the way they did last year, look for the Rangers to go on a run and climb their way up the standings and back into contention. This will keep the Rangers (and fans) from making knee-jerk reactions, like selling the farm in order to contend this year.  Speaking of the farm…here are the 3 Stars of the Week: European Edition


Honorable Mention: Vladimir Tkackyov

If Tkackyov was actually in the Rangers’ system, he would be in contention for the first star every single week. While he is not in the system, Tkachyov’s connection with the Rangers makes him worthy of note for this post. After his slow start, zero points in his first six games, Tkachyov has rebounded and since September 15th, Tkachyov has 23 points (9G, 14A) in 19 games. In the last two weeks, Tkachyov has six points (2G, 4A) in four games. 

This season, Tkachyov seems to be playing with more confidence as he is shooting the puck more and creating offense for Admiral. While his shooting percentage has dropped from 15.4% last year to 12.9% this year, the number of shots that he is generating more than makes up for it. In 49 games in 2016-2017, Tkackyov only had 91 shots on goal. This year, he already has 70 shots through 25 games. As a 19-year-old playing in the second best league in the world, Tkachyov is the team leader in points, goals, and assists. This off-season, Tkachyov will be a coveted commodity and the Rangers should be all in on bringing him to New York.

Third Star: Dominik Lakatos

While Lakatos has not had an incredible season, with only six points (3G, 3A) in 18 games, he did have two goals in Liberec’s victory on Friday. Part of Lakatos’ offensive struggles can be attributed to Liberec. Currently, they are buried in the standings, only three points from the bottom of the league. In addition, only three players on Liberec have more points than Lakatos, and no one has more than nine points. The Rangers 6th round pick would benefit from having a little more talent around him. Here’s a clip from Lakatos’ first goal this season.

Second Star: Tarmo Reunanen

Tarmo Reunanen

Reunanen is often forgotten with the Rangers glut of talented defensemen, however, the young defender could make an impact with the Rangers in a few years. Reunanen has bounced up and down TPS Turku’s lineup, with inconsistent ice time (sound familiar?). While he only has one point (0G, 1A) in 16 games with the main team, Reunanen has found his offensive touch in the games he has played with the Junior team. In three games, Reunanen has six points (2G, 4A) and was selected to represent Finland at the U-20 Four Nations Tournament. It is important to remember that Reunanen is only 19 years old and is in his first full season of professional hockey (he only played two games last year). Keep an eye on him as I believe he could turn out to be a solid if unspectacular, two-way defender.

First Star: Patrik Virta

Patrik Virta has continued to turn heads as he has scored at a point per game pace following his slow start. In the past two weeks, Virta has played in five games for TPS Turku, while scoring five points (1G, 4A).  The Rangers 7th round pick is rewarding the Rangers for using their last pick in the draft on him. Virta, 21 years old, is a player that the Rangers believed could be a contributor in the NHL fairly quickly as a depth center. While Virta’s goal pace is down from last year, he is already only an assist short of his total (12) from last season and is on pace to shatter his career high in points. If Virta is able to put the puck in the net a little more, he will quickly appear on the radar of the organization.

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