New York Rangers not that far off last year’s pace at halfway point

new york rangers
Jan 1, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates his goal with teammate Artemi Panarin (10) against the Florida Panthers during the first period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers reached the midway point of the 2022-23 campaign after falling to the New Jersey Devils by a 4-3 score in overtime on Saturday.

After the game, the usual cadre of fans sang the same song of disappointment they’ve been singing for most of this season. The chorus basically goes something like this:

The Rangers aren’t that good,
And the coach’s head is made of wood,
Trouba can’t defend,
And Lafreniere’s development has me at wits’ end

Honestly, there are times that if I didn’t know better, fans would have me thinking the Blueshirts are fighting for draft lottery balls in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.

New York Rangers at halfway point

new york rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers will be playing the first game of the second half when they host old friend Ryan Reaves and the Minnesota Wild at the Garden on Tuesday night.

They will do so with a record of 22-12-7 for 51 points and either remain in third place of the Metro Division or hold the first wild card spot (depending on the results of today’s Capitals vs Blue Jackets game).

Regardless, the general consensus you get from fans and many that cover the Rangers is they aren’t that good. They have issues defending and apparently can’t develop young players.

So is that true? When it comes to developing young players, that’s another topic I will address in the near future. However, comparing some of the Rangers midway point stats versus last season’s paints a different story than certain narratives surrounding the team.

2021-22 41 26 56 0.683 2.93 2.54 28.2 32 23.9 83.8
2022-23 41 22 51 0.622 3.24 2.71 32.6 29.3 23.7 80.8
New York Rangers midseason stats (NHL Stats)

At this time, the Blueshirts are only five points off of last year’s pace. While they’re slightly giving up a few more goals per game, the team is also scoring a lot more than they did in 2021-22. Here’s a more important takeaway, the Rangers are giving up less shots per game and putting more pucks on net this season.

MSG Analyst Stephen Valiquette, who runs Clear Sight Analytics posted the Rangers scoring chances this season versus last. According to his information, the Blueshirts are out chancing their opponents by a 1187 to 1038 margin at the halfway point. In contrast, they were out chanced by the opposition 1052 to 910 in 2021-22.

All of these are positive signs that this team is very much on target to either match or surpass last year’s point total of 110.

Matter of fact, the one area of improvement that I think warrants immediate work is their penalty kill, which is a full 3 points behind last year through 41 games. Otherwise, the Rangers are looking pretty good this season.

“You’re at Game 41. You’re not going to make or break anything today,” Captain Jacob Trouba noted after yesterday’s loss. “They’re all important but it’s an 82 game season. I think as a team we’re more confident and playing with more togetherness.”

Editor’s Note: Updated the article to include Stephen Valiquette’s information regarding scoring chances.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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