Rangers Update: Klein suffers fractured thumb, Nash still sidelined; How this effects the Rangers defense

Bobby Bevilacqua

kevin klein full body profile 10-25

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers suffered another serious blow to their team, as it was announced that Kevin Klein had suffered a fractured thumb and will be sidelined indefinitely.

Now Klein has not had the same offensive success as he had last season, but he’s really helped solidify the top pairing when playing with Ryan McDonagh. For the most part, he’s played consistently solid defense with solid possession numbers, and along with Keith Yandle, Klein has been one of the best defenseman this year. And now he’s gone.

This is bad. I don’t know if you realize how much of an effect this will have, but it’s bad. On one hand, it’s wonderful that Dylan McIlrath will be an everyday player. He totally deserves it and he will do well. But it’s terrible that it comes at the expense of Klein.

Because what this means is that Dan Girardi and Dan Boyle will have to play every game and probably play bigger roles. But neither of them can handle that anymore. If you watched last night’s game, you probably realized that both of them looked really slow and sluggish all night. Boyle’s problem is simple, he’s aging and is struggling to handle the load of playing every night and the rigors of playing a full season.

And unfortunately, the situation with Girardi is eerily similar. Earlier in the year, his struggles had to do with bad decision making. But it’s really starting to look like he has nothing left in the tank. Girardi got absolutely burnt when Blandisi blew past him and scored the second goal of the game. He has slowed down, he drags down Ryan McDonagh, and Vigneault continues to give him top pair minutes. That he can’t handle anymore.

And now, AV doesn’t have a choice but to play Girardi on the top pairing. Boyle certainly can’t handle it, and Vigneault won’t give McIlrath a chance on the top pair for some reason. So now the Rangers are stuck with Girardi on the top pairing indefinitely unless they make a move.

Which brings me to my next point. This will certainly affect the way that Gorton approaches the trade deadline. If Klein is out long term, will the Rangers trade for a defenseman? They shouldn’t, because it would cost valuable resources that could go towards other players they need to solve other problems.

Also, Keith Yandle deserves a promotion on defense, but AV refuses to do that too. One of the only defenseman with power play excellence on his resume, Vigneault put him on the ice for just 2:47 of a potential EIGHT MINUTES OF POWER PLAY TIME. WHAT!?!? How on earth does that make any sense?

So no, I don’t have any confidence in Vigneault making the right decision when it comes to defensive deployment on even strength and the special teams, because he continues to send out the same players and the same units despite it not working at all.

Adam Herman wrote an article on Blueshirt Banter about the Rangers acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk, and it’s worth a read so check it out here. I wouldn’t be surprised anymore if the Rangers do something big on defense again, even though I totally disagree with that.

Also, Rick Nash missed practice again today, still sidelined with a bone bruise. The Rangers have suffered without him, and it wasn’t for JT Miller’s stellar play over the last few weeks, this team would have been in serious trouble.

With Nash out, Daniel Paille continues to play. And he has been horrendous. The Rangers have been outshot 56-22, out chanced 25-9 and outscored 2-1 with him on the ice. Couple that with Tanner Glass, who has continued to play worse and worse with each passing week, and the Rangers are a three line team.

If Nash’s injury is much more significant than initially believed, and you couple that with an extended Klein absence, this team will have a hard time making the playoffs and fending off the Devils and Islanders.

Especially if Vigneault continues to make the same foolish coaching decisions and not making any adjustments.

Posted on February 3, 2016, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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