Rangers have issues, pinning them on Tanner Glass is silly
Tonight, Tanner Glass will play his 15th game of the season and man some people don’t like it. Matter of fact some are downright livid over it. Does he deserve this heat? I’m here to tell you, no.
Here’s the deal, Tanner Glass is and will always be a 4th line role player that provides grit and the occasional fisticuffs that your advanced stat gurus seem to despise. The argument against Tanner Glass as being the anchor dragging this team down was best articulated by Patrick Kearns in the Washington Post.
In the article he explains that a big issue the Rangers are having is they lack a strong puck possession 4th line (corsi for fancy stats people). The fact that the Rangers have been dealing with injuries was cited as well, but that this problem has gone virtually unnoticed.
I must linger on social media too long, because almost every other tweet from some of the “elitist” NYR bloggers spew nothing but vitriol towards Glass. Yet, I digress.
The argument made here is that AV is forced to start other lines in the defensive zone because Glass is terrible defensively. Last season the Rangers were able to deploy a 4th line of D. Moore, Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett almost exclusively in the defensive zone.
True, it was a great luxury to have, but the cap and injury to Stepan has forced them into a different situation now. If you read that line again you will realize it has 2 centers on it, Moore and Boyle. This is the real issue – the Rangers were forced to play D. Moore into a more offensive role and have players like Chris Mueller / Kevin Hayes play minutes at center not expected. While Tanner Glass has played exclusively on the 4th line, he has played it with a myriad of different players.
The starts in the defensive zone are also predicated on winning face-offs. Possession numbers will tank if your center man can’t win a draw. So I don’t understand how that is Tanner Glass’ fault.
So let’s look a little more into Tanner Glass and just how bad he is. For the season, Glass is sporting a rather sexy 45.6% corsi (that means the other team possesses the puck more when he is on the ice).
Now let’s look at how he fares depending on whom he plays with as his center. Does he really bring them down?
Kevin Hayes, TOI: 17:08, CF% 33.3 – without Glass on his line 50.7
There it is! Totally on Glass. But wait, what does Kevin Hayes do to Chris Kreider’s corsi when they play together? In 53:31 together, Kreider’s numbers are 48.2 with Hayes and 53.9 without. That’s an anomaly right?
Well how about the Rangers best forward, Rick Nash? In 29:52 together, Nash is at 41.5 with Hayes and 50.2 without him. Hmmmm, I’m seeing a pattern.
Ok, let’s not pick on Hayes here. What about Chris Mueller?
Chris Mueller, TOI: 31:56, CF% 43.5 – without Glass on his line 46.6
Ah, there it is again, Glass’ fault. Oh wait, what does Mueller do with Ryan Malone whom he played 19:51 with? Malone’s corsi was 44.4 with him and…ahem, 67.3 without him as his center. Anomaly I say!
Well when he was paired with Lee Stempniak, he dragged him down from 54.8 to 50 in 13:42 together. As for the next highest winger he played with, Duclair at 8:33, he knocked him down almost 10 points – 49.8 to 40.
Finally, Kearns finished his article with this:
The return of Derek Stepan, which will slot Dominic Moore back to the fourth line center role, could force Glass into heavier defensive zone situations. But is it unrealistic to think that even with a guy like Moore steadying the fourth line, Glass won’t drag the unit into possession purgatory.
Dominic Moore, TOI: 52.11, CF% 52.5 – without Glass on his line 54.3
Tanner Glass has played 52:11 with Dominic Moore as his center. When Tanner Glass is put on the right line with the right center his CF% is 52.5. In fairness, without Glass, Moore’s CF is higher but only by 1.8 points.
The Rangers real issue is poor defensive zone coverage due to probably not having their top 6 defenders together this season for more than 2 periods. However, the real deep issue is the fact the Rangers only have 3 NHL centers and last year had 5. That’s why AV has been forced to start his other forwards in the defensive zone more. Not because of Tanner Glass.
So maybe, just maybe Alain Vigneault’s decision isn’t as bad as some made it seem. Tanner Glass needs to play better, of that there is no doubt. He also needs to be put in a position to succeed.
All Fancy Stats were found here.
P.S. I fully expect to be called a buffoon for this article.