Assessing the New York Rangers at Thanksgiving mark
The New York Rangers have officially hit the quarter mark of the 2022-23 NHL season with an okay record of 10-7-4 good for 24 points. They’re currently on pace for a 96 point season, a far cry from the 110 earned in 2021-22.
At this point last year, the Rangers record was 14-4-3 as they were finding ways to win due in large part to Igor Shesterkin’s heroic goaltending.
So are the Rangers not as good? I mean Shesterkin has been excellent, but Jaroslav Halak has been a clear step back from Alexandar Georgiev. Defensively, the Rangers seem to be doing a better job limiting high-danger chances from the middle of the ice.
Here’s even more for you to scratch your head with:
|NYR after 21 Games||2021-22||2022-23|
The biggest difference this season is that the Rangers have not gotten good goaltending from Halak, who has allowed some very soft goals in almost every game he’s played.
Halak has started six matches and is 0-5-1. If he won half of those games, the Rangers would be on par with last season’s start. Matter of fact, I’d say that their Shots For (SF) being up and Shots Against (SA) down has them on a better path in the long run.
Let’s take a look a closer look at the Rangers now that we’ve hit the Thanksgiving mark.
New York Rangers at the quarter mark
The New York Rangers currently hold the first Wild Card spot in the East. That’s important simply because any team that holds a playoff spot at Thanksgiving make the postseason around 77% of the time.
In truth, several teams ahead of them in the Metro standings, like the surprising New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders, are expected to cool down.
Igor Shesterkin another Vezina bid
Shesterkin, 26, is having another outstanding season and should be in the mix for another Vezina Trophy. While his numbers have dipped in comparison to last season, he’s still dominant.
Here’s how he ranks compared to goalies who have played at least 10 games this season:
Wins: 10 (3rd)
GAA: 2.38 (8th)
SV%: .917 (11th, min 10 GP)
Adam Fox back in Norris Trophy contention
When Fox won the Norris Trophy in just his second NHL season, it was a bit surprising. Only Boston Bruins and hockey legend Bobby Orr was able to get his name engraved that quickly.
This season, the 24 year-old is tied for second in the NHL for scoring by a defenseman with 23 points. Only Erik Karlsson has more with 30 points. However, when it comes CorsiFor%, Fox is at 57.8 and Karlsson comes in at 53.7. One of many defensive considerations to win the title as Best Defenseman.
Artemi Panarin needs to score at even strength
When all is said and done, I expect Panarin to be the team’s leading scorer, as he has every year since he’s been here. The 31 year-old is tied with Mika Zibanejad, and Fox with 23 points with 12 of those points coming courtesy of the man-advantage.
Simply put, Panarin needs to start scoring more at even strength. Last season, when he posted a career high 96 points, only 38% of them came on the power play. The Rangers need more from their best player when things are equal on the ice.
Patrick Kane watch
When the Rangers traded Ryan Reaves they gained critical cap space by shedding his $1.75 million salary.
According to PuckPedia, that $1.34M cap hit savings is projecting out to be $1.5M come the NHL Trade Deadline on March 3. That means Chris Drury can add up to $6.68M in salary without having to technically trade a roster player.
What that also means is the Blueshirts are in the mix for Patrick Kane when the Chicago Blackhawks finally trade him.
Of course, the Hawks will need to retain 50% of his $10.5 million cap hit to make it work, but that was a given consideration for every contender that would try and deal for him.
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