NEW YORK, NY – We’re about a month into this #NHL season and the NY Rangers are playing some decent hockey. They’re definitely not where they want to be, but there have been some promising signs from the Blueshirts. There are plenty of injury concerns as well in the early goings. Nonetheless, they 14 points from their first 12 games.
The Rangers top 2 lines have been stellar so far this season and the first power play unit has been lethal. They have struggled for production from the third and fourth lines, though, and as a team the 5-on-5 goals have been few and far between. The injuries have not helped. Filip Chytil was stellar in preseason and had shown signs of finally taking the “next step.” But the forward has missed several games now with a concussion. Chytil is close to returning and could be back for tomorrow’s tilt against the Red Wings.
Vitaly Kravtsov has been bitten by the injury bug also. I had high hopes for the Russian winger but so far he has disappointed. Even when he is healthy, he has been ineffective. It’s a worrying sign for the 22-year old’s future with the club. Hopefully he can get back to health and play well enough to be trade bait. Another injury prone disappointment has been Sammy Blais, who was supposed to plug a gap at right wing and add depth to the roster. Instead the 26-year old has added next to nothing. There’s still plenty of time to turn things around if Blais can stay healthy. But so far he’s been a disappointment.
At the back end, the defense has been pretty good. Lindgren left Thursday night’s game after taking a late hit and is day to day with what appears to be a mild concussion. Lindgren has been solid on the blue line early this season with partner Adam Fox, as the top pair defensively. The second pair of Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller has been decent, but have been prone to giveaways and some miscommunications have lead to Miller getting wrong-sided a few times. Miller still has plenty of potential and will need to adjust his game as he matures.
In net, Igor Shesterkin has been great. Not quite as unbeatable as he was last season but he is still making saves and bailing out the Rangers regularly. Still a long way to go and the Rangers will need to stay healthy to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division. They’re currently in 4th in the division behind the ‘Canes, Devils, and Islanders. Not teams the Rangers want to be looking up at. Hopefully the Blueshirts can get back to full strength and start rattling off wins.