The New York Rangers have officially reached the quarter mark of the 2022-23 NHL season with a fine record of 10-7-4, good for 24 points. They’re currently on track for a 96-point season, a far cry from the 110 earned in 2021-22.
At this point last year, the Rangers record was 14-4-3 as they found ways to win, thanks in large part to Igor Shesterkin’s heroic goalkeeping performance.
So are the Rangers not that good? I mean, Shesterkin was excellent, but Jaroslav Halak was a clear step behind Alexandar Georgiev. Defensively, the Rangers appear to be doing a better job of limiting dangerous chances from mid-ice.
Here’s more for you to scratch your head with:
|NYR after 21 games||2021-22||2022-23|
The biggest difference this season is that Rangers haven’t gotten good goalkeeping from Halak, who has conceded some very soft goals in almost every game he’s played.
Halak has started six games and is 0-5-1. If he won half of those games, Rangers would be on par with where they started last season. In fact, I’d say her shots for (SF) above and shots against (SA) below put her on a better path in the long run.
Now that we’ve hit the Thanksgiving mark, let’s take a closer look at the Rangers.
New York Rangers at the quarter mark
The New York Rangers currently hold the first wild card berth in the East. This is important simply because any team that has a spot in the Thanksgiving playoffs plays in the postseason about 77% of the time.
In truth, several teams ahead of them in the Metro standings, like the surprise New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders, are expected to cool down.
Igor Shesterkin another offer from Vezina
Shesterkin, 26, is having another outstanding season and should be in for another Vezina Trophy. Although his numbers are down compared to last season, he’s still dominant.
Here’s how he compares to goalies who have played at least 10 games this season:
Wins: 10 (3rd)
GAA: 2.38 (8th)
SV%: 0.917 (11th, min. 10GP)
Adam Fox back in contention for the Norris Trophy
When Fox won the Norris Trophy in his second NHL season, it came as a bit of a surprise. Only the Boston Bruins and hockey legend Bobby Orr could have his name engraved so quickly.
This season, the 24-year-old ranks second in the NHL as he was hit by a 23-point defender. Only Erik Karlsson has more with 30 points. However, when it comes to CorsiFor%, Fox sits at 57.8 and Karlsson at 53.7. One of many defensive considerations to win the title of best defender.
Artemi Panarin must score with equal strength
Ultimately, I expect Panarin to be the team’s top scorer, as he has done every year since he has been here. The 31-year-old is level on points with Mika Zibanejad and Fox on 23 points, with 12 of those points thanks to man advantage.
Simply put, Panarin needs to start scoring more with consistent strength. Last season, when he posted a career-high 96 points, only 38% of that came on the power play. Rangers need more of their best player when things are equal on the ice.
Patrick Kane clock
When Rangers traded Ryan Reaves, they gained crucial ground by giving up his $1.75 million salary.
According to PuckPedia, those savings are projected to increase from $1.34 million to $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.
That also means the blueshirts for Patrick Kane are in play when the Chicago Blackhawks finally trade him.
Of course, the Hawks have to keep 50% of its $10.5 million cap for it to work, but that was a given consideration for any competitor who would try to trade for it.
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