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Blog Archives

Rangers Player Grades; Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis

Bobby Bevilacqua

martin st. louis and stepan hi five 5-16

Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan were paired together for most of the year, while Kreider and Stepan have built considerable chemistry over the years. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

When your top line is struggling or getting defended well, it’s always nice for a coach to have a secondary option to go to. A team’s second line can be just as important as its first line. Just look at Brad Richards and Patrick Kane on the Blackhawk’s second line.

For most of the season, the Ranger’s second line consisted of Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis, except when injuries changed the pairings. Both Stepan and Kreider made strides in their game, and St. Louis closed out a marvelous 16 year career with a 52 point season.

The second line saw some change throughout the year, but for the most part, Kreider, Stepan and St. Louis formed a strong line throughout stretches of the regular season and the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers Player Grades: Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello

Bobby Bevilacqua

zuccarello and nash 12-23

Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash made up part of the Rangers top line, a great possession line that was also responsible on defense, and poured on the goals. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

When looking at every NHL team, each one features their top line, meant to contain the most skilled, best scoring forwards on the team that also play well together. Every line has its role, but the first line is where a lot of the scoring comes from.

Due to injury at the start of the season, and some new faces, Alain Vigneault struggled to find chemistry amongst the top three forwards. Rick Nash was always a top line staple, but Martin St. Louis started as the center in the first game of the season, because Derek Stepan was injured. Stepan was expected to be the team’s first center, but injury changed those plans.

At some point during the season, he decided to promote Derick Brassard to the top line, and soon after that, Mats Zuccarello on the right wing, due to how well him and Brass played last year. This line meshed perfectly together, and soon became the Rangers’ most productive line.

Nash, Brassard and Zuccarello could do it all. They play solid defense, maintain the majority of possession, and most importantly, score goals. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers Player Grades; Keith Yandle, Kevin Klein and Matt Hunwick

Yandle, Klein and Hunwick

Keith Yandle, Kevin Klein and Matt Hunwick combined to make up the third pairing for the Rangers throughout the season, each playing a very different role on the team. Photos courtesy of MSG Photos.

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rounding out the Rangers defense is the third pairing, which at times, can be just as important as the other two pairings. For Alain Vigneault and New York, that third pairing was constantly changing. This article will evaluate what it looked like at the end of the season, including the extra defenseman.

As of March 1st, that last pairing consisted of Keith Yandle and Kevin Klein. Yandle had just come over in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes, and Kevin Klein, playing in his first full season with the Rangers and having one of the best seasons of his career.

Matt Hunwick, signed in the offseason as the seventh defenseman, wound up playing 55 regular season games, and became a very important player for the Rangers this season.

When looking at each of these players, Yandle, Klein and Hunwick are all very different. But each one of them were important to the team in their own way. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers interested in Czech defenseman Mozik

Bobby Bevilacqua

UPDATE: Vojtěch Mozík has signed an Entry Level Contract with the New Jersey Devils.

vojtech mozic

The Rangers have shown interest in 22-year old Vojtech Mozic, a defensive prospect playing in the Czech League. Photo courtesy of HC Skoda Plzen.

According to IDNES.cz, a Czech newspaper, the New York Rangers have expressed interest in signing Vojtěch Mozík, a defensive prospect playing in the Czech League for HC Plzen. Last year he led the league in goals as a defenseman with 10 goals in 50 games, adding 19 assists as well.

Mozík, 22, is 6-foot-2, 189 pounds, and a right-handed shot, and played 51 games in each of the last two seasons, with a total of 18 goals, 25 assists and 154 penalty minutes in those 102 games.

Mozík has been scouted and watched by the Rangers before, with Jan Dajdosik initially discovering him, and Gordie Clark inviting him to the team’s development camp in 2013 and 2014. After the 2013 camp, Clark told him that he performed well, with his skating ability standing out, but that he needed to get stronger. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers Player Grades: Dan Boyle and Marc Staal

Bobby Bevilacqua

Boyle and Staal

Marc Staal and Dan Boyle spent a majority of the season together on the second pairing, as polar opposite players. Boyle is the offensive specialist, and Staal is tasked as one of the shutdown defenders. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and MSG Photos.

While Ryan and McDonagh and Dan Girardi are viewed as the top defenseman on the Rangers, it’s important to have other depth players to keep a team from being one dimensional. Fortunately, New York is host to plenty of solid defensemen.

Marc Staal, a Ranger draft pick from 2005, and Dan Boyle, a veteran, offensive defenseman acquired in the offseason, made up the second pair for the majority of the season, with each player logging around or over 20 minutes a game.

Staal serves as an alternate captain, and team funny man, and Boyle is another veteran leader in the locker room, while also driving passion and quarterbacking the power play. Both of these players have been the target for a lot of blame, especially Boyle, but some of it is really undeserved. Read the rest of this entry