New York Rangers could use a shutdown line this season

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers head coach, Peter Laviolette knows what he will be getting out of his top six staples led by the likes of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider. Since being hired, Laviolette has put emphasis on building a strong worth ethic beginning on Day 1 of training camp.

“It’s about pressuring, it’s about puck pursuit, it’s about the battle level, the compete level, the grit,”

“It’s that grind in the game that makes teams great” said Laviolette at his introductory press conference in June.

Laviolette wants to see a fast paced team that is aggressive on the forecheck and in the defensive zone. After a disappointing first round exit against the New Jersey Devils, Laviolette is determined to instill a strong compete level before the puck drops in October. A successful bottom six group should be able to posses the skills Laviolette desires.

New York Rangers Bottom-Six

new york rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Drury was challenged with limited cap space to make effective offseason changes for the Rangers this summer. Drury was able to sign bottom six veterans such as Tyler Pitlick and Nick Bonino. These two new addition could be slotted in with a new look 4th line this upcoming season. Bonino brings two cups with him during his time in Pittsburg and knows his role as a veteran 4th line center. He will likely fill Tyler Motte’s role on the Rangers penalty kill that ranked 3rd last season.

Bonino will likely serve as the 4th line center with Pitlick and Vesey on the wings. Will Cuylle is also an option for the 4th line, assuming that he has an impressive camp. In his short stint after being called up last season, Cuylle was physical and even had a spirited bout with Vegas Golden Knights enforcer Keegan Kolesar. Drury also signed bottom six forwards Alex Belzile and Riley Nash who will also compete with Cuylle for a roster spot.

The option of a Checking Line

Laviolette could use a checking- line to help bring his emphasis on forechecking to the bottom six. Gerard Gallant rarely used a shutdown line in his two years as coach, but a checking line could be the solution for the Rangers. Barclay Goodrow has two championship rings from his successful role on a checking unit with Blake Coleman and Yanni Gourde in Tampa. Teams that have made deep playoff pushes, value matchups when constructing their lineups. On the Rangers unexpected run to the conference finals two seasons ago, Jon Cooper was able to construct a checking line of Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli, and Brandon Hagel that stifled the Rangers top line for the rest of the series.

Laviolette could give Chytil the opportunity to slot in as the second line center moving Trocheck down to the third line to help create a new shutdown unit. Trocheck centering a line with Vesey and and Goodrow could be what the Rangers desperately need.

Instead of having the “Kid Line” as a a offensive minded third line, Laviolette would be able to give the younger forwards top six opportunities, while having a forechecking line that is more than capable of also chipping in offensively. Chris Kreider could also be an option on a new look checking line. With Kreider being a prime scoring threat and an effective forechecker, Laviolette could pair him with Trocheck as an effective duo.

With training camp just around the corner, Peter Laviolette will have many pieces to work with when constructing his bottom six. Time will only tell and Rangers fans can only hope that he will be able to use these pieces to complete the puzzle.

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