The New York Rangers officially hit the quarter-final mark for the 2022-23 NHL season with a record of 10-7-4 good for 24 points. They are currently on a 96-point season, which is a far cry from the 110 they had in 2021-22.
At this point last year the Rangers had a 14-4-3 record as they were finding ways to win due in large part to Igor Shesterkin’s scoring heroism.
So, are rangers not good? I mean, Shesterkin was excellent, but Yaroslav Halak was clearly a step back from Aleksandr Georgiev. Defensively, the Rangers seem to do a better job of limiting high risk opportunities from mid-ice.
Here’s more to scratch your head with:
|NYR after 21 matches||2021-22||2022-23|
The biggest difference this season is that the Rangers haven’t scored well from Halak, who has allowed some very easy goals in almost every game he’s played.
Hallak has started six games and is 0-5-1. If he wins half of those games, the Rangers will be on par with last season’s starter. In fact, I would say that their shots for (SF) going up and shots against (SA) down get them on a better trajectory in the long run.
Let’s take a closer look at the Rangers now that we’ve hit the Thanksgiving mark.
New York Rangers at the quarter mark
The New York Rangers currently hold the first Wild Card spot in the East. This is important simply because any team that occupies a playoff berth on Thanksgiving makes the postseason about 77% of the time.
In fact, many of the teams ahead of them in the Metro standings, such as the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders, are expected to cool off.
Igor Shesterkin, another Vizina show
Shesterkin, 26, is having another great season and should be poised for another Vezina Cup. While his numbers are down compared to last season, he’s still in control.
Here’s how it ranks compared to goalkeepers who have played at least 10 games this season:
Number of victories: 10 (third place)
GAA: 2.38 (8)
SV%: .917 (11th, min 10 GP)
Adam Fox is back in contention for the Norris Cup
When Fox won the Norris Trophy in only his second NHL season, it was a bit of a surprise. Only the Boston Bruins and hockey legend Bobby Orr managed to carve his name so quickly.
This season, the 24-year-old is tied for second in the NHL for scoring defenseman with 23 points. Only Erik Carlsson has more than 30 points. However, when it comes to CorsiFor%, Fox is at 57.8 and Karlsson comes in at 53.7. One of the defensive considerations for winning the MVP title.
Artemi Panarin needs to score hard
All said and done, I expect Panarin to be the team’s top scorer, as he has every year since he’s been here. The 31-year-old is tied with Mika Zibanejad and Fox on 23 points with 12 of those points coming from the man advantage.
Simply put, Panarin needs to start recording more with equal strength. Last season, when he scored a career-high 96 points, only 38% of them involved power play. On the ice, the Rangers need more of their best players.
Patrick Kane watch
When the Rangers traded Ryan Reeves, they gained critical space by throwing away his $1.75 million salary.
According to PuckPedia, the cap savings of $1.34 million are expected to reach $1.5 million by the March 3 NHL trade deadline. That means Chris Drury can add up to $6.68 million in salary without technically having to trade a roster player.
What this also means is that the Blueshirts are in the mix for Patrick Kane when the Chicago Blackhawks finally trade him.
Of course, the Falcons would need to keep 50% of his $10.5 million cap to make it a success, but that was a consideration every contender would try to tackle.
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