Rangers defense needs to limit shots from the slot next season, are you listening AV?

Song playing inside Lundqvist's head: "All by myself..."

Song playing inside Lundqvist’s head: “All by myself…”

We all saw it last year, the gaping swiss cheese like holes of the Rangers defense. Well Christopher Boucher of Montreal’s SportsligicIQ replied to one of our own (J. Dundon) with regards to just how porous the NYR defense actually was.

Yes, the Rangers were among the absolute worst in the league at shots from the inner slot. Just to provide a little more insight as to what is the inner slot as defined by SportslogicIQ, here’s a graph carving out all hot sports.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 8.50.29 AM

This should speak to just how incredible Henrik Lundqvist is! Had the Rangers not had his elite level goaltending we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to rant about the Blueshirts’ first round exit to Pittsburgh – because we wouldn’t have even made the playoffs.


What this should scream to Alain Vigneault is the need to change his system in the defensive zone. AV likes to overload and force mistakes, however when your defense isn’t as mobile as it used to be (Girardi/Staal) and your forwards are leaving the zone to early, well you can see the result are: WAAAAYYYYYY too many open guys in front.

At times, it looked like AV would also play a man-to-man zone coverage and again that didn’t work out. That is because you need your defenders to be great skaters to keep up with the likes of the Ovechkins, Malkins and Crosbys of the NHL. No the Rangers need to fall back to a more reliable 2-3 system with their current personnel.

In the 2-3 system, both defensemen and a forward work the down low coverage while the other two forwards work the slot and points. It may not lead to the quick transitions AV loves to play, but it might just cut down on all those glorious chances the opposition got all year. Hey, you can win with less offense in the NHL – Just see the John Tortorella Rangers.

Of course, AV and Jeff Beukeboom need to take the basics of the 2-3 system and make it their own. Whatever they decide, their focus needs to be on limiting all the down low opportunities they gave up last season. If they don’t, we will be in for a long and maddening 2016-17.

For more on defensive systems, check out NHL Guides.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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