The Rangers Need a Finisher

USA Today

Year after year the same question is asked. Why can’t the Rangers put the puck in the back of the net? If you take a look around at all of the successful teams in the league, they all have that one guy. That one guy that is always reliable to tack onto the scoresheet. The Rangers haven’t had a guy they can rely on in such fashion for years now, and with the team in its first season of their rebuild, this realization for a finisher will become even more evident.

Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, Mika Zibanejad, and Mats Zuccarello. Those four guys have the most weight on their shoulders heading into this season to show the Blueshirts brass why they deserve to stay put in New York and lead the team through the rebuild. Out of those four, Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello seemingly put up the most points, but even with them in the lineup, it sure feels like the Rangers need more help. In a rebuild, you want to expect that all of these young prospects will turn into future goal scorers. Brett Howden, for example, made his way through camp, to the surprise of many, and has arguably played the best overall game up front for the Rangers this season.

But it isn’t just about goal scoring. It’s about pressure on the oppositions goaltender, shots on net, all things that eventually lead to goals. The Rangers don’t have that pressure, that will to throw the puck at the net and make something happen. Even after the last game against Edmonton, head coach David Quinn addressed the issue of not throwing enough pucks on net. As for an answer to that, what can be done?

Sitting around and waiting for one of your prospects to turn into a consistent goal scorer can’t be done. Waiting around for roster guys like Kevin Hayes to start producing can’t be done either. The Rangers need to go out and get themselves an Artemi Panarin; a guy that puts points on the board no matter what team he’s playing on. Just consistently posting north of 70 points a year and can carry a team. That’s with just using Panarin as an example, but the Rangers need someone they can rely on regularly. This waiting around with a bunch of guys that can score some of the time hasn’t worked, and won’t work. The Rangers need a legitimate goal scorer, even if it takes risking a lot.

It’s easier for David Quinn to say “throw more pucks at the net,” but that only goes so far. The Rangers haven’t had a quarterback on their team in years now. What will change if the Rangers don’t go out and get one themselves? If you’re hoping that one of your many prospects will turn into something great, that won’t be until years down the line. If you go out and get a goalscorer now, you bring in immediate consistency along with longevity. It’s so clear that the Rangers need a leader, I just hope they do something about it.

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