The Rangers are winning despite lineup flaws

Tanner Glass (Getty)

Tanner Glass (Getty)

The Rangers need a guy that is willing to stick up for teammates and play physical. However, in the case of Tanner Glass it cannot come at the expense of an entire fourth line.The forward depth isn’t the same as the four line steamroller that the Rangers possessed last season.

Tanner Glass is a detriment to the entire bottom six and the way head coach Alain Vigneault uses his checking line. Martin St. Louis has not played up to the standards he has set for himself. Ryan McDonagh has not been the shutdown, star two-way defenseman that burst into the NHL. The Rangers need these players filling their respective roles on the team if they want to compete in the playoffs.

Tanner Glass is a detriment to his linemates and the Rangers depth.

In the case of Tanner Glass, AV needs to use him as a thirteenth forward. He does nothing offensively and he’s a train wreck in the defensive end. Glass is not equipped for 60% defensive zone starts like AV uses his fourth line for. He is not good enough defensively and he doesn’t handle the puck well.

In all situations Tanner Glass is a 38.1% on ice Corsi for which is ridiculous but that includes killing penalties. He has the worst even strength Corsi rating on the team, A mind-blowing 41.8% Corsi for. My grandmother would have better possession stats than that skating on the Rangers fourth line.

Related: Rangers Rally To Win One Over The Islanders!

If you watched the Rangers lately, you may have forgotten what Martin St. Louis looks like. Before the win on Long Island you would have to go back to the Western road trip to find a game in which MSL got on the score sheet. Watching him play the game without looking at any stats, you could see it taking a toll on his confidence. He was turning the puck over and making poor decisions.

Over the last six weeks the Rangers game has been on the rise despite losing important players for long stretches.

[su_pullquote]”I just think sometimes I become my own worst enemy, when it’s going good it’s the same thing the other way-I feed off it and play with swagger. When Things don’t go well, I become too critical that I don’t play perfect games, but I know that doesn’t happen in this league”. St. Louis went on to say ” I come out of it when I remember it’s more important to try to have fun. The game is supposed to be fun.” “Marty St. Louis-The Daily News”[/su_pullquote]

This is a player that has been the model of consistency throughout his career. Looking a little deeper at his season we can see St. Louis holds a 13.8% shooting percentage in fifty-five games this season. Which is right in line with his 13.5% career average. He was riding an unsustainable 18.5% shooting percentage the first three months of the season. It can be said that his slump is nothing more than a crash back down to Earth. Nothing fans should be worried much about. What goes up must come down.

From the beginning of the season the Rangers got 58% of the scoring chances when Martin St. Louis is on the ice. Since January 1st, scoring chances went down to 53.2% along with the drop in his shooting percentage. For forwards the best predictor of future goals scored is the rate in which a player gets scoring chances. This has been proven with statistical analysis by some really smart guys. You can read their article here at WarOnIce.com.

Kevin Hayes has cemented himself into the Rangers lineup with solid two-way play and possession.
The Rangers young Center

kevin Hayes (GETTY)

The play of Kevin Hayes during this 4 game road trip has changed the thinking in Rangerland. It was barely two weeks ago that the Rangers had to find a center to play on the third line. In the last month of games, Hayes has progressed into a solid two-way player and shown he can be a contributor every game in the NHL.

When Hayes is on the ice the Rangers are getting 52.1% of scoring chances, good for fourth best on the Rangers since January 1st. It’s possible that Kevin Hayes continues to get better offensively as the season goes on. That gives the Rangers a position of strength when looking to improve before the March 2nd trade deadline.

The Rangers need more from star defenseman McDonagh!

Ryan McDonagh has been a little inconsistent in the forty-four games he has played this season. He has uncharacteristically turned the puck over at times and forced passes that he’s normally smart enough to look away from. McDonagh has to be better in his own end when making decisions with the puck and his coverage around the net.

Just as scoring chances are the best predictor of future goals for forwards. The best predictor for defenseman is Fenwick percentage. Ryan McDonagh has a 47.3% Fenwick percentage.

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Related: Kevin Klein – The Unsung Hero on Defense

Over the course of a season, some players will go through ups and downs in their game. Mats Zuccarello went through it for a time until he recently remembered to start shooting the puck. Kevin Hayes went through the learning process on the fly but he seems to have turned a corner. Now the Rangers possess a big third line pivot with two-way potential.

Kevin Klein now has four game winning goals this season, he also has six in his entire career. How good does that Micheal Del Zotto trade look right now? The play of Ryan McDonagh has improved over the course of this season. All players have ups and downs through the course of a season. “Mac” has looked different from period to period let alone game to game this season but will look to solidify his play during the stretch run.

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I began watching the Rangers in 1990 when I was 9 years old. Soon after a lifelong friend of... More about Bob-O