Ryan Spooner making a strong case to remain with the Rangers
Ryan Spooner has simply been on fire since his acquisition from the Boston Bruins. His production in points (12 in seven games) has brought some excitement for fans since the doom and gloom deadline. With that excitement, also comes questions.
After the deadline, the New York Rangers found themselves with an extra pending RFA at season’s end with Spooner. Many fans wonder what Spooner’s value is and if the team will even try to sign him for the future?
These questions will be left unanswered until the summer, so instead let’s focus on what we know.
Spooner-Hayes-Fast was the original line used by head coach Alain Vigneault upon Spooner’s arrival to the Blueshirts. This line had an immediate impact and scored a big goal in their first game together against the Detroit Red Wings. The strong play continued for this line and the Rangers went 3-2-1 in the six games this line was playing together.
Before the shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, Alain Vigneault decided to change up the lines, by putting Fast on the first line. Regardless of the fans sentiment towards the head coach, there are always silver-linings to his decisions.
One of which is the success of Spooner and Hayes together. Hayes has seven points in the last seven games, with five coming from goals. It’s clear that Hayes is benefitting from a player of Ryan Spooner’s caliber. Spooner and Hayes are similar players, in that they have good puck carrying skills, both play a 200-foot game and they ideally prefer to pass. Spooner’s playmaking ability helps counteract his smaller stature and having him on his wing has been the boost Kevin Hayes needed.
Hayes has vastly improved his game in his own end this season, however, he still seemed to be shy when he had scoring opportunities. Now, he is capitalizing on those opportunities. While it is absolutely illogical for this sample size to indicate large success, it does show that if Hayes is paired with like-minded 200-foot players, he’s willing to try to capitalize on opportunities.
Again it is unclear if Spooner is part of the Rangers long-term plans. Quite frankly, it would not be shocking if Hayes’ future is unclear as well. One thing is clear, the Rangers have finally found the right fit to get the most out of Hayes in Spooner. If they both be involved with the future, they should find themselves playing together because of their ability to compliment each other’s games.
Spooner has certainly made his case for staying with the Rangers, and that’s all you can ask of player joining a new organization.