NEW YORK, NY – The New York Rangers are almost a tenth of the way through this 2020-21 (minus the 2020) season and they’ve gotten to see their young talent in action. They’ve won but one of their first four games but there have been good signs from the young talent.
Young defenseman K’Andre Miller, after a rocky start in his first game, has settled fairly well into life on the Blueshirts’ blue line. His first game he looked like a baby giraffe on skates that had gotten into some Valium in the medicine cabinet. Since then he’s played a pretty solid defense and even recorded his first point in last night’s shootout loss to the Penguins.
Adam Fox has emerged as the Rangers’ top defenseman in the first few games of the season. The 22-yearold logged over 26 minutes of ice time last night against Sid & His Pens – good for tops on the Rangers. Fox currently carries a $925,000 cap hit, which is over $7 million less than Jacob Trouba, who is supposed to be the top blue-liner.
Trouba, for all of that money, has been close to useless. Paired with Miller in the first game of the season, the two looked like Abbot & Costello imitating a Keystone Cops routine. It was ugly. Miller, for his part, has gotten better since that first game. Trouba, well, hasn’t. Hopefully he figures it out. the Rangers don’t need him to be an $8 million defenseman. But they need him to be at least a $4 million defenseman. So far he’s earned a case of Molson Ex and a bucket of pregame practice pucks.
The Broadway Blues’ marquee forwards haven’t fared much better than Trouba in the early goings. Artemi Panarin has skated well, but hasn’t been able to find the net much. He scored two goals against the Isles but has looked as though he couldn’t put a beachball in the ocean since. He’s been logging big minutes and has generally played well, so I can’t complain. Yet I do.
Alexis Lafreniere has had a rough go of the start of his professional career. The #1 overall pick is still looking for his first NHL point. One gets the feeling that once he scores, the floodgates will open. But the drought continues for now. All of these young players would have benefited from a few preseason games or even some time in the American League. But it’s 2021 and we’re still dealing with a pandemic, so the minors are out and there was no preseason.
This shortened season will be a good training experience for the likes of Lafreniere, Miller, and Fox. New York will need to add some depth at centre (Canadian spelling), since skill drops off in the middle pretty dramatically after Mika Zibanejad. If things are back to normal next year, the Rangers should be a force.
But for now I’m just happy to be watching hockey. The Isles will probably win the East, as much as it pains me to say. They’ll probably get swept out of the playoffs, though. My money is on the Avalanche to win Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Speaking of cups, come back tomorrow for Cheesy Bruin, who loved cup-checks at practice. But first, feel free drop your pucks and comments below.