Tag: Mats Zuccarello

New York Rangers David Quinn’s Report Card

The New York Rangers are coming off a rough three-game stretch, all three games coming on the road and all resulting in a lose. The Rangers most recent road trip does not do David Quinn much justice, therefore looking past these three games but still considering them to some extent. Here is my take on the Rangers new head coach report card up until this point.

The Rangers entered this season with very little, to no intention on making playoffs. I’m sure there was still that one fan named Antonio from Brooklyn, New York who grew up a die hard Ranger fan that still believed the Rangers had a chance of making the playoffs this season. Sorry, Antonio but the Rangers are not going to be a playoff team for a little while. Quinn came into the Rangers organization for a few reasons (1) to help develop young players, he did a great job with players at Boston University (Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy..) (2) The Rangers were heading into a new direction, a younger more patient, looking to the future direction. Which made Quinn perfect role for this job. (3) They needed a new face, some new ideas, a shake up from a coach who never coached professional hockey, someone who can come in and brought new philosophies, attitude and certainly a new voice to that locker room.

I am not sure many thought Quinn would 17-18-7 with 41 points and 6th in the Metropolitan division. The Rangers were regarded as a team destined to finish last in the division and near 28th to 31st in the NHL. For that reason alone Quinn has, in my eyes exceeded my expectations for the first four months of the season. I cannot speak for every Ranger fan, I am a little less biased and realistic than most Ranger fans therefore the Dancing Larry type Ranger fans probably will disagree with me. Either way looking at three main key takeaways from Quinn’s first four months and 42 games in.

(1) Youth development: B- 

Speaking for myself I’d have to give him a B- in this area. In the beginning of the year it was frustrating to see Filip Chytil on the fourth line for many games. Pavel Buchnevich scratched, not many young defenseman on the roster and still playing Brendan Smith. Vinni Lettieri still in the minors, a glimpse of Lias Andersson, a cup of coffee for Steven Forgarty, no sign of John Gilmour, Rob O’Gara, Ryan Lindgren yet. We have seen Neal Pionk be the Rangers number one defenseman which is due to Quinn trusting the young defenseman in every situation, no matter the game, time, etc. I say a B- because while he did a decent job with Chytil and Buch it was the right move at the time. Buchnevich has not been the player we all expected him to be, he was struggling early on and still is therefore he probably deserved less minutes. Also not playing Chytil a lot early on has helped him see the game a little better. As well O’Gara, Gilmour will and hopefully be up very soon… and unpopular opinion. Either Quinn was not playing Andersson correctly or Andersson really is going to be a bust. My opinion, Rangers wasted that first overall pick in 2017.

(2) Game Management: B

I do like the way Quinn manages the lines and game honestly. Although he does change the lines a decent amount throughout the game and mixes guys up a lot, I think he is still trying to see what works. Plus he does a good job of playing the hot hand, some nights guy are hot and some are not and he does a good job recognizing who is on and who is not. My only concern is his defensive line choices late in games, numerous times I have seen Adam McQuaid or Smith out there on the back end when the Rangers are up by one-goal.

(3) Style of play: B

The Rangers were known to be a pretty gritty, get in the ugly areas, throw pucks on net and hope for the best type of team. While in the d-zone the Rangers D were not responsible, and hoped Hank made the first and second save. I like how Quinn in a sense has made us a better transitional team, a little more responsible in the d-zone and a little hungrier in the offensive zone. He has done a great job trusting Neal Pionk, reviving Marc Staal, not a great job with Kevin Shattenkirk but that is on Shattenkirk as well. He has also done a great job giving Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes the free reign to do things and be creative in all areas of the ice. I like how Quinn allows the players to make mistakes, learn from their mistakes and not play such an old school game backed by an old school philosophy of “get pucks deep and chase”.

Overall: B

The Rangers will more than likely finish with a top-10 pick for the NHL 2019 draft which will really make or break Quinn’s time in New York. They will also probably be trading Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello in the coming weeks. Quinn has done in my opinion a good job, he was not given an easy job, a young team, a crazy hockey market, the big city and bright lights. Quinn has come in and done what he can with what he has. It will be interesting to see the roster moves they make later in the season after the All-Star break in terms of bringing up AHL players so they can see some more NHL time before next season.

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What went wrong: New York Rangers 2017-2018

Making the playoffs 11 of the last 12 years to then come back and have the season the Rangers did, is difficult to swallow. While yes the Rangers placed 24th in the NHL and posted a 34-39-9 record and had their first below .500 record in 15 years. The last time the Rangers posted a below .500 average record was in 2003-2004. The Rangers ranked 22nd in goals for(228), 4th in goals against(263), 14th in power play percentage(21.2), 12th in penalty kill percentage(81.4) and while the Rangers did not have an overall terrible looking season a lot has changed for this organization.

The Rangers started off the season on the wrong side of the puck after dropping several games at the beginning of the year and being behind it was difficult for the Rangers to get any momentum going. While they did turn things around for a short period of time, around the trade deadline is when things fell apart for the team. That is when the Rangers decided to shift their outlook and change things up trading away captain Ryan McDonagh, JT Miller, Nick Holden, Rick Nash and Michael Grabner while acquiring two first-round picks, and several other later drafts picks. Whilst at the end of the season firing head coach Alian Vigneault and hiring Boston University storied coach David Quinn.

The Rangers have now three first-round draft picks, two seconds and two third-round picks. Amounting to 7 picks in the first three rounds, the first time the Rangers have had this much to play with in a long time, perhaps the first. Anyways with these picks came a different looking line up as the Rangers now have 4 prospect defenseman playing, a defenseman coming off an injury, with the front end looking a tad different after acquiring Ryan Spooner and Vladislav Namestikov. What went wrong for the Rangers though? A lot did…

What went wrong?

  1. Injuries: The Rangers dealt with injuries to Chris Kreider, Kevin Shattenkirk, Mika Zibanejad, Ryan McDonagh(when he was on the team) these four players are the Rangers top players and players that play a huge role in their team’s success. With Shattenkirk being injured it made the defense a tad unbalanced and shifted things a bit. Kreider being out really left that speedy left winger hole wide open as the Rangers had nobody to fill it and when Shattenkirk and McDonagh are out it is tough to be competitive with two top four d out.
  2. Coach Alain Vigneault was terrible at putting lines together and developing players. This was one of the reasons AV was fired, his relationship with the players was not great and he had a hard time getting to these guys and getting them to do the right things. He was known for his odd line swaps and matchings and being a coach who never gave players the right chances when they would mess up. With a team that was struggling put together with a bad coach, only bad things will happen.
  3. No depth. The Rangers really had no one to fill the void when their top players were out or not producing, Paul Carey, Jesper Fast, Peter Holland, David Desharnias are not players you can substitute for a lack of production from Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey or no Kreider, or no Zibanejad. Without depth, this team had some trouble.
  4. The domino effect. When the tough got going, it only got worse. When the Rangers were basically out of the race and trade rumors came up it only got worse from there. And when it finally did happen things continued to get worse, then firing AV came up and Lundqvist was playing poorly it was just one big domino effect of a bad event after bad event. Luckily the offseason is here and things may get better.

Will things get better?

We’d sure hope so with the picks and prospects they have coming up. As Ranger fans are probably also screaming for a better season they can’t deal with being bad New York fans so the Rangers need to get better. They have their two first round picks in 2017 coming up next year who have displayed excellent play in World Juniors, the IIHF and their respected leagues overseas and with Hartford. Filip Chytil and Liass Andersson will probably be in the Rangers line up full-time next season so that is a plus as it helps balance out the top six. They also have picks 9, 26 and 28. With the #9 they will probably land Noah Dobson the 6’3 defenseman from the QMJHL who just played in the Memorial Cup, this is a maybe though anyways they will land a top end prospect. With 26, 28 they can either trade one of these picks or draft a potential top-9, top-6 forward.

They also have 24.9 million in cap space but have to sign 4 RFA forwards, 3 RFA defenseman and 1 UFA defenseman and these players are must sign, well at least 6/8 are. To say things will be a tad better in New York is understandable, much better, who knows. A new coach, new players, different lineup, aging goaltender. It will be difficult especially playing in the toughest division in hockey. Expecting a 5th place finish from the Rangers in the Metropolitan and possibly a wild card spot but would not be surprised if they miss the playoffs again next season.