Rangers Roundup: Drury looking for a “middle six” forward; Nemeth’s struggles continue; and more

Latest NYR news and notes.

By Forever Blueshirts
patrik nemeth
Nov 16, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth (12) and Montreal Canadiens right wing Josh Anderson (17) battle for the puck during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers were dealt a depth blow when Sammy Blais’ went down with a torn ACL. His loss for the remainder of the season only further weakened the RW position that took a hit when they traded Pavel Buchnevich for cap savings in the offseason.

President and General Manager Chris Drury has been actively shopping for help on the wing, which started prior to the Vitali Kravtsov refusal to report to the AHL.

The question at this point is when will a deal will take place?

Rangers looking for a middle six forward

“Chris Drury, the general manager for the New York Rangers, is looking for a middle-six forward, which isn’t a term we use often in hockey,” Darren Dreger explained on TSN’s Insider Trading. “That can be a third-line player or someone who can punch into the top six.”

The choice of words sounds like Drury is getting the word out that he isn’t panicking by qualifying the need as a “middle six” forward. In truth, he is likely looking for a second line right wing.

Yesterday, I noted that ruling out a trade for Vladimir Tarasenko would be premature. Of course, it will be difficult to trade for the 29 year-old because of his $7.5M AAV and another year on his deal. If the Blues were to eat some of the contract and/or a third party were to get involved it is a possibility.

The best fit is pending UFA Reilly Smith in Vegas. He has familiarity with Gerard Gallant and can be described as a “middle six” forward. Once Max Pacioretty and Jack Eichel come off LTIR, the Golden Knights will be pressed to shave cap space. That could mean acquiring Smith at a better price.

new york rangers rumors
Jan 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) and New York Rangers center Vinni Lettieri (95) reach for a loose puck during the first period of play at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Patrik Nemeth’s struggles continue

While there has been a lot of talk about rookie Nils Lundkvist possibly sitting again in the near future, one particular defenseman is avoiding such scrutiny.

Veteran defenseman Patrik Nemeth continues to struggle for the New York Rangers. Last night, he was on the ice when Morgan Rielly scored the game winning goal on the PP. Yes, the Blueshirts were down a man but it was a critical moment in the game and they needed a big kill.

This season, at all strengths, Nemeth leads the team by being on ice for 22 goals against. Mika Zibanejad and Jacob Trouba are tied for second with 19. The big difference between them and Nemeth is TOI.

Trouba averages 22:36, while Zibanejad is at 20:31 minutes per game. A significant difference to Nemeth’s 17:49.

Goodrow is also tied for second with 19 total goals against, but he has been on for 11 goals for versus Nemeth’s eight.

As for Lundkvist, he has been on for 6 goals and against for 8. A GF% of 42.86 versus Nemeth’s paltry 26.67. Maybe Gerard Gallant is considering a scratch for the wrong guy?

*Stats via Natural Stat Trick.

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