New York Rangers
The New York Rangers have a completely revamped front-office. Their coaching staff is also completely revamped. Headlined by Gerard Gallant, the Rangers will be a well-coached bunch. With that said, the rest of the moves from Drury’s front-office left a lot to be desired. It was clear that the organization’s ownership didn’t like the level of toughness on the roster and after the line-brawls of a season ago caused by Tom Wilson’s antics, it was obvious the Rangers wanted to get tougher. By doing so, they became less-talented. Chris Drury addressed the need for physical players by trading for Ryan Reaves, signing Jarred Tinordi and trading for Barclay Goodrow.
Barclay Goodrow is the type of player that the Rangers should have targeted, and kudos to Drury for bringing him aboard. He’s a tough, physical player who will help retool the bottom-six and make the Rangers harder to play against. A season-ago, Goodrow matched his career-high for Corsi For % of 49.2, despite being deployed nearly 64% of the time in the defensive zone. With the Lightning, Goodrow scored 6 goals and added 14 assists during the regular season, good for a plus-20. Adding in 111 hits and back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, you can see why Goodrow is a valuable third-line piece. That’s about where the positives end though.
Ryan Reaves is a physical-force to be reckoned with on the ice, but that’s about it. As far as actual hockey skill goes, Reaves is not an NHL-caliber player. Offering very little offensive ability, one might expect Reaves would be an effective penalty-killer, given his physical style of play. For one, he spends so much time in the box, he can’t be relied upon to be available when his team his short-handed, because more often than not, he won’t be. Giving up a third-round draft pick for a guy who averages 8:37 of ice-time in an eleven-year career is a steep price to pay. Reaves is an enforcer, nothing more, and this screams of a knee-jerk reaction to the physicality of teams like the Capitals and Islanders.
On the blue-line, the Rangers brought in Patrik Nemeth and Jarred Tinordi. Nemeth is an interesting signing, who the Rangers hope will pair nicely with rookie Nils Lundkvist on the third-line. Nemeth is a solid stay-at-home defenseman who has played for the lowly Detroit Red Wings recently until being traded to the Colorado Avalanche late last season. With the Avs, Nemeth saw his possession metrics improve across the board as a member of a better team. Nemeth will provide a steady player on the bottom pair. Nemeth isn’t the type of player who will propel the Rangers over the Metropolitan’s top teams but he isn’t expected to be.
Tinordi on the other hand is a depth-signing at best on the blue-line. The tough defenseman has never played in more than 28 games in a single season and has a career Corsi For % of 43.8 and a season ago with the Boston Bruins, he was even worse at only 37.8. While physicality is an important aspect of a hockey team, outside of Goodrow, the Rangers will sacrifice talent for physicality.
Some may argue that Tinordi and Reaves will only play against physical opponents like the Capitals or Islanders, and they may be right, but against teams like the Capitals or Islanders, you need your best players. That’s where Chris Drury and the Rangers missed the mark. The Rangers have physical players like Ryan Reaves and they have talented players like Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, but they don’t have talented, physical players like Tom Wilson of the Capitals or Anders Lee of the Islanders.