The Athletic’s Peter Baugh dives into the Rangers midseason slump

The New York Rangers have hit a midseason slump after losing three straight (0-2-1).

Back at the start of December, the signs were pointing in the wrong direction after a sloppy 6-5 win over the San Jose Sharks. Since that game, the Blueshirts are 8-8-1 and have seen their once big Metro Division lead dwindle to just three points over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peter Baugh of The Athletic, joined the Forever Blueshirts Show to discuss the Rangers slide and some other hot topics surrounding the team.

Related: Rangers trade targets

New York Rangers midseason slump

NHL: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers to a man put on a brave face after falling to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night in another mistake filled outing. Whether it was their head coach Peter Laviolette or captain Jacob Trouba, they talked about dealing with adversity and coming out the better for it.

While that might be true, it’s been the Rangers’ shoddy defense that’s killed them for well over a month.

“It’s the defensive details and coverage on rush attempts that have bitten them repeatedly,” Baugh explained. “I think they’ve given up five plus goals ten times already and last year it was only six.”

That’s an incredible stat considering the Rangers went on a 16-2-1 run to build up their record this season. It also speaks to the struggles Igor Shesterkin has experienced as well.

After 26 appearances, the 28 year-old netminder is 16-10-0, with a 2.90 GAA, and a .901 save percentage. Solid numbers for your average goalie, not a former Vezina winner, who has never posted a save percentage below .916.

Filip Chytil and the trade deadline

One of the biggest issues facing the Rangers is health. For the last several seasons, the Blueshirts have avoided serious injuries to their top players. This season, Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, and Igor Shesterkin have all missed significant time.

Then there’s Filip Chytil, who has been out since November 2nd with a suspected concussion. He’s currently in Czechia with no timetable to return, and despite being on LTIR, it’s left the Rangers no clear path on how to replace him.

“The flexibility will come down to if they expect Chytil to come back in the regular season,” Baugh said. “If not, can they use Chytil’s salary to target a center. There’s Elias Lindholm at center, and then a serious drop off after that. But he’s going to cost you.”

At the end of the day, Baugh believes that GM Chris Drury will be aggressive and do what he has to. Based on what he’s seeing, this team is close enough to winning a Cup. That would absolutely justify paying the right price for the right player.

For more of this interview and many others, check out our channel here. Remember to Like & Subscribe.

Forever Blueshirts would like to thank Peter Baugh for joining the show and giving us some of his time.

Note: Steven Pappas conducted the interview.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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