Looking At The Rangers Possession Statistics In 2014

The New York Rangers celebrate a goal by Derick Brassard (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The New York Rangers celebrate a goal by Derick Brassard (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

To begin the season the Rangers were atrocious at controlling puck possession. Last season they dominated the possession game with depth and skating ability. Most teams couldn’t keep up with them and after twenty to forty minutes of chasing the Rangers around the ice, the opposition’s defense would wear down trying to stop four lines from scoring and the Rangers pounced on them in the neutral zone.

This would normally result in odd-man rushes and scoring chances. I think it’s worth taking a look at team and individual possession statistics like Corsi and to a lesser degree Fenwick. For those unfamiliar with the two possession statistics, the only difference is a blocked shot is not counted as a Fenwick event as it is with Corsi.

The Rangers Possession Statistics are not nearly as dominant as in their cup run from last season!

This season Alain Vigneault’s team started the season like the opponent from last season. Players don’t want to make excuses for their play or lack thereof but injuries and the roster turnover played a role in the lack of continuity. Each season there are at least a few new faces stepping into important roles in the lineup along with rookies. During the recent eight game winning streak, the Rangers have a team wide 50% on ice Corsi for. For the majority of the 14/15 season, the Rangers were operating around forty-six percent.

Bad Possession teams don’t earn a berth to the Playoffs!

Teams that cannot sustain a 51% or better Corsi for over the course of a full eighty-two game season, will usually be on the outside of the playoff tree. For evidence of this we can look back to the end of the 13/14 season. The Toronto Maple Leafs were in the bottom five in the National Hockey League in Possession and shots on goal against. With only three weeks of games left they were all but guaranteed a playoff spot. However, the lack of puck control caught up to them and they lost twelve of their final fourteen games to miss the playoffs.

The New York Rangers .500 record early on was evidence of their inconsistent play. The injuries and lack of solid replacements had much to do with the lackluster play for the first fifteen games or so. The Rangers had to play without four of their projected top six defenseman and top centerman Derek Stepan. Since the Rangers have gotten healthy they’re operating at around 49.8% and if the team can continue to improve at driving possession they’ll continue their current winning streak.

 

Stepan is normally a good possession forward

Derek Stepan is normally one of the Rangers best possession skaters(Getty)

The recent emergence of J.T. Miller has given the New York Rangers a much deeper forward group. Miller leads the Rangers in Fenwick percentage with a 54.7% and his rookie centerman Kevin Hayes is a 50.7% Fenwick for percentage. Under John Tortorella, Carl Hagelin was a possession monster but this season he’s a pedestrian 50.5% on ice Corsi for. While starting only 30% of his total shifts in the offensive zone. Considering he’s been buried with defensive zone starts, over 50% is still pretty impressive.

The Rangers top six has played well but not all six have driven possession.
Possession

Martin St. Louis (Credit: Getty Images)

We all know Rick Nash is on a goal scoring tear but with 54.7% of his shits starting in the offensive zone, Alain Vigneault has put Nash in a possession to score. As he does with his top six, it’s called line matching. After the opposing team ices the puck of the opposing goalie covers the puck, AV is going to put his best players out for an offensive zone start.

Rick Nash is sporting a 50.1% on ice Corsi while starting 54% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Rick Nash was destined to rebound this season, it was all in the numbers. Nash Has been a force in every game this season and that’s partially due to the left-wing he has played this season. His linemates Derick Brassard 50.4% and Mats Zuccarello 52.7% on ice Corsi have helped to drive possession well of late after slow starts to the season.

Of the second line players, only Chris Kreider is a positive possession player with a 50.6 on ice Corsi for and a 1% relative Corsi. Derek Stepan 44.6% and Martin St. Louis 47.7% are not getting the job done for the Possession challenged New York Rangers this season. Derek Stepan is normally a leader on the team in possession. It can be assumed the small sample size of thirty games is to blame and he reverts back to his career average of 51.1%.

The Rangers fourth line may be better off without Tanner Glass from a possession standpoint.

With only 26.6% of his shifts starting in the offensive zone, it’s amazing that Dominic Moore is a 50.3% on ice Corsi for. Being buried in defensive zone starts makes getting more shot attempts than your opponent tough to pull off. Jesper Fast starts 24.4% of his shifts in the offensive zone but the youngster is a 44.6% Corsi for while the possession anchor Tanner Glass is a 45.5% on ice Corsi. Many have yelled for Tanner Glass to be removed from the lineup and watch from the press box but that is hard to imagine with the three-year $4.350 million dollar contract ($1.45 cap charge) he signed last summer.

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[su_box title=”Stat References”]For all New York Ranger possession stats I suggest WarOnIce.com-war-on-ice-2014-12-25 18-41-20 Corsi and Fenwick relative is the players teams Possession numbers when he is not on the ice. Contract details are courtesy of Capgeek.com[/su_box]

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I began watching the Rangers in 1990 when I was 9 years old. Soon after a lifelong friend of... More about Bob-O