Why Jarret Stoll is Worth the Risk

Stoll (Getty)

Stoll (Getty)

After owning the Rangers in the face-off circle during the 2014 Finals, Jarret Stoll is now a member of the Blueshirts and we’re thrilled about it.

The New York Rangers were the most dominant regular season team last year and came within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season. Not much went wrong for the Rangers last season but as the team seeks to win that elusive fifth Stanley Cup, there are still improvements to be made and among them is winning faceoffs. The recent signing of former Los Angeles King, Jarret Stoll was a calculated risk for the Rangers but it is ultimately one that has a great chance of paying off if his faceoff talents continue in New York.

The Rangers only won 46.7 percent of faceoffs last season and finished second to last in the league only ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. For a team like the Rangers who have come incredibly close to Cup glory the past few seasons that number is entirely unacceptable. Let’s take a look at how each of the Rangers four main centers performed last season in the faceoff dot.

Derick Brassard – 48.8 percent
Derek Stepan – 44.1 percent
Kevin Hayes – 36.3 percent
Dominic Moore – 54.5 percent

Moore was clearly the Rangers best faceoff man last season with Brassard knocking on the door for 50 percent efficiency but Stepan was not good enough and Hayes was clearly the weakest link. Ultimately when two of a team’s centers aren’t producing in the dot, it will hurt possession numbers, hurt scoring chances and hurt the team overall if they can’t get control of the puck from the drop. Now, let’s insert Jarret Stoll into the lineup and see just how much the teams prowess in the faceoff dot improves. For this section I’ll put the respective centers career average next to their names.

Derick Brassard – 47 percent
Derek Stepan – 44 percent
Jarret Stoll – 55.1 percent
Dominic Moore – 54 percent

With just the addition of Stoll, the Rangers faceoff average shoots up to 50.025 percent. That number would have been good enough for 15th overall in the league last season. If the players keep up with their averages next season the Rangers will perform much better in the faceoff dot and have a much better chance at getting possession from the drop.

Stoll and Moore aren’t as offensively gifted as Brassard and Stepan. However, the draws both of them will most likely take, in the defensive zone especially, are absolutely critical to the Rangers success. If Stoll performs well in camp and earns his spot on the team then there is no doubt that the Rangers will benefit as a whole from it.

Stoll with Cup (LAK)

Stoll with Cup (LAK)

The Stoll signing said more things about the Rangers as well. Yes, they want to improve on the faceoff dot but they also wanted someone with Stanley Cup experience to come in and add to the core group. This current Rangers teams has it fair share of playoff warriors as many players on the team have been to the ECF three of the past four years and got the opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup Final last year.
Players like Stoll, that have gone through the playoff wars and been to the mountain top, know what it takes to win. Stoll was an integral part of the Los Angeles Kings championship runs in 2012 and 2014 and was a part of some of the most wild playoff series in NHL history.

Another hidden caveat to this signing is that Kevin Hayes can finally move to the wing where he dominated his final season of college hockey. That move alone makes the Stoll acquisition worthwhile, especially after losing Martin St. Louis to retirement.

To wrap it up, Stoll helps win draws, has recent championship experience and moves Hayes to the wing. Cheers to Jeff Gorton who addressed three needs in one 800K signing.

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