Rangers Roundup: 2021 stats recap, Neil Smith on Keenan’s regret, and more

The New York Rangers closed out the year 2021 on a high note. It was one of the wildest years in recent memory for the franchise that saw the debut of its first ever #1 pick overall in January.

Sprinkled in between was a political hit-job on Panarin, a major incident with Tom Wilson that reset the franchise by firing its leadership group, and the hiring of head coach Gerard Gallant. The biggest highlight was seeing New York native defenseman Adam Fox win the Norris Trophy in only his second season.

Now let’s look back at some big statistical numbers for the Blueshirts.

New York Rangers key 2021 stats

The Rangers concluded their 88th game of the calendar year 2021 with a 4-3 shootout win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Lightning. Their record is 47-31-10 record for 104 points.

More importantly, they became the just the fifth team to register 20 wins for the 2021-22 campaign. New York’s record of 20-8-4 and 44 points has them tied for third overall in the NHL’s standings.

Artemi Panarin picked up an assist in yesterday’s victory to give him 94 points (27G-67A) in 73 games this calendar year, which is good for 5th overall in scoring in the NHL in that span. He also became the first Rangers player since Jaromir Jagr (2006) to register 90 points in a calendar year.

Other key stats:

Adam Fox claimed only the 5th Norris Trophy in franchise history. For the calendar year of 2021, his 78 points ranks second to only Tampa’s Victor Hedman (79).

Igor Shesterkin is 30-18-5 for the calendar year of 2021. His .922 SV% is tied for 7th overall and his 30 wins are tied for 9th during that timeframe.

Chris Kreider has recorded 22 power play goals in 2021 which ranks him second overall behind Leon Draisaitl’s 28. His 39 goals over the same time span ranks him tied for 8th in the NHL.

Neil Smith comments on Mike Keenan’s regrets about 1994

neil smith 1994
Rangers GM Neil Smith holds up the Stanley Cup after the Rangers defeated Vancouver 3-2 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Madison Square Garden June 14, 1994. Rangers Win Stanley Cup

Mike Keenan was the last Rangers coach to win the Stanley Cup back in 1994. It wasn’t too long after the parade that he bolted for St. Louis.

“That is, and probably was, the biggest disappointment in my career,” Keenan said on an a recent appearance of the ‘Up In The Blue Seats’ podcast. “Because I felt that we had assembled a group that grew together, that really cared for each other, had the leadership, had all the talent-base that we needed to succeed again.”

While Keenan expressed regret, there’s quite a well documented history of what transpired during the Rangers Cup run. However, he seems to have a revisionist’s history about it.

“I’m not getting into all the details of how it transpired,” Keenan said. “It’s still a disappointment because I enjoyed that group, it took a lot of work to get to where we were and what we did, and then it was just heartbreaking to tell you the truth that I ended up leaving.”

Forever Blueshirts reached out to the architect of that Championship team for his comments.

“As usual Mike has created his own narrative and It’s estranged from the truth,” Neil Smith told me via email. “Amazingly heartbroken (enough) to negotiate with Detroit during the Finals and ultimately end up with a big contract to be both GM and Coach of St.Louis. But he was looking forward to the next season with NYR satisfied to be just coach?”

Smith also provided the documented history for the record.

“On top of that, after a thorough league investigation Detroit was fined, St Louis was heavily fined and he was suspended,” he recalled. “The facts are clear, he was suspended by the NHL because he was negotiating a better contract with two teams while coaching NYR.”

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