The Rangers Need To Get Rid Of Cody McLeod ASAP
When the Rangers first claimed Cody McLeod on waivers last season, the thought was that he would bring an element of toughness to a new crop of young Rangers. And when the team brought him back over the summer on a one-year deal, one would assume that Jeff Gorton had the same idea in mind, especially with prized prospects Filip Chytil and Brett Howden ultimately making the opening night lineup. However, McLeod has shown that while his toughness could be viewed as an asset, he is not worthy of being in the lineup night after night.
There is a multitude of reasons that McLeod shouldn’t have been brought back in the first place, let alone being on the ice for David Quinn’s squad. For starters, he isn’t the kind of player that would flourish in today’s NHL. Back in 2005, when McLeod started playing professional hockey for the Lowell Lock Monsters, the former Devils AHL affiliate, the NHL had 466 fights. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, there hasn’t been a season with more than 400 fights. Furthermore, hockeyfights.com projects that there will be just 271 scraps. The era for guys like McLeod, the guy who you send out to start a fight to change momentum or to stick up for a teammate on the following shift, is over. The Enforcer has been almost completely eradicated from the NHL, and in a time where speed and skill are more valuable than brute strength and toughness, McLeod is simply a holdover from another place in time.
Secondly, he isn’t playing well. He hasn’t played more than 12 shifts in any game he has dressed in and his highest ice-time of the season was 8:31. Additionally, in two of those games, most notably Sunday’s loss to the Kings, McLeod had more PIMs, nine, than he did time on ice. In Buffalo, McLeod played 5:23 and racked up five minutes of PIMs. In other words, he isn’t worth the ice time he is getting because there is a good chance he’ll end up in the box. What’s more, McLeod has just eight shots on net in the six games he has played this season. Now, granted, it’s hard to pile up the shots when you are playing only a handful of minutes every night, but he isn’t playing well enough to stay out of the press box.
To piggyback off of the previous point, if the Rangers are truly rebuilding, they already had guys within the organization that could’ve filled the same role, most notably Matt Beleskey. Beleskey, who the Rangers acquired in the Rick Nash deal, plays a similar style of game to McLeod and is a younger, and quicker player. Moreover, Vinni Lettieri, who has been riding the pine for the last few games while McLeod has been in the lineup, has far more potential in the long-term than the 34-year-old McLeod does. Putting aside the guys currently with the Rangers, the organization has a bunch of young guys down in Hartford like Tim Gettinger, Lias Andersson, and Ville Meskanen that are far more skilled than McLeod and would be a much better fit for today’s NHL.
So, finally, 90-93-36; 20-13-23; 26-21-17 and 89-72-95. 8 is out. D pairs the same as yesterday – 18-44; 42-22; 76-77.
— Colin Stephenson (@ColinSNewsday) October 29, 2018
Based on yesterday’s practice, it would appear that David Quinn may have finally picked up on this obvious point. Now it’s time for Jeff Gorton to pick up on this very thing and send Cody McLeod the way of the dodo bird.