New York Rangers were trade deadline winners, but there’s lots of work to do

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The general consensus around the league is that the New York Rangers are clear trade deadline winners.

I mean, it doesn’t take an expert to figure out that adding forwards Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Motte, and defenseman Niko Mikkola without trading away a significant roster player or prospect should give you an advantage.

However, the team has struggled to find chemistry since these trades have happened. Here’s how they’ve fared to date:

  • 6-5-1 after acquiring Tarasenko and Mikkola
  • 2-4-0 after adding Motte (missed last game due to injury)
  • 0-2-0 since Kane joined the lineup

New York Rangers deadline winners

Now that the NHL trade deadline has passed, everyone is seeing the Rangers as an offensive juggernaut. ESPN points to the recent move of Patrick Kane working his way to Broadway by waiving his full no-move clause only for them as a big reason why.

Sportsnet also see the Rangers as clear winners with all the moves they made.

“When you combine Kane’s acquisition with the previous move to snag Vladimir Tarasenko from the Blues, you have a completely transformed top-six forward crew for a team that made the final four last year even with its offensive limitations,” writes Ryan Dixon. “It might be next-step time in New York.”

Video game lineups on paper are nice, but so far it hasn’t translated on the ice. After the team’s most recent loss to the Bruins, Gerard Gallant observed that superstars Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane were creating their own headaches.

“They’re trying to force the plays in the middle of the ice,” Gallant said. “There’s too many turnovers. There’s chemistry there but you have to make strong plays. Too many times trying for that east to west pass in the offensive zone. They’ll get it together but it wasn’t good tonight.”

Rangers have work to do

Vladimir tarasenko new york rangers
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers will finally get two days of practice starting tomorrow before taking on the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Here’s what they need to fix before getting back to playing games.

Power Play 1

One of the problems about having too many superstars is that there’s only one puck and so much ice time to go around. That goes double for the power play, which now has Patrick Kane on the wall where Panarin was and Mika Zibanejad in the bumper spot.

To say that the first unit looks disjointed is going easy on them. It was so bad on Sunday, they gave a shorthanded goal off an awful turnover trying to get out of their own end that really hurt their chances against Boston.

“It needs a lot of time to jell,” a frustrated Gerard Gallant said. “There’s a couple of guys in different positions and setups so we’ll work with it. We’ve got some time this week (to practice) and decide what we’re going to do.”

While Zibanejad not taking one-timers in the left circle seems like a bad idea, his shot from the slot could yield even more goals once Panarin and Kane work out what they want to do from the walls.

Second Line Assignments

If the Rangers hope to win a Stanley Cup, the second line of Vincent Trocheck centering Kane and Panarin need to start playing a smarter game. Kane has been with the team for all of two contests without the benefit of a single practice. This trio has the potential to be deadly, but need to work on their routes and finding lanes.

“It will be nice to settle in and get a couple of practices and understand the way they want to play systematically,” Kane admitted. “They haven’t given me too much. Just go out and play.”

Once this unit figures it out, the Rangers will be a very dangerous team come postseason.

A Full Lineup

New York may finally be able to make an emergency call up for their game against the Habs to replace injured forward Tyler Motte. The player recalled must be under $850,000 which makes Ryan Carpenter ($750K) the most likely candidate. Will Cuylle ($828K) is also a possibility, as is Jonny Brodzinski ($762K) and Jake Leschyshyn ($766K).

On defense, K’Andre Miller will be back after his three-game suspension ended on Sunday. This will give the Rangers six defenseman for the first time since they played the Kings back on February 26. It should be noted that in that matchup, the Rangers did not play Braden Schneider in order to place him on waivers to acquire Kane.

The fact that the Rangers have basically been forced to play 11 forwards and 5 defenseman for a week due to salary cap issues has played a role in their recent poor play.

Ryan Lindgren still remains day-to-day with a shoulder injury, but once the Rangers regulars are all back and healthy these recent defensive issues should improve.

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