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
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
UPDATE: Vojtěch Mozík has signed an Entry Level Contract with the New Jersey Devils.
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
Bobby BevilacquaWhile 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
As soon as the playoffs ended for the New York Rangers, hockey writers and Rangers blogs began sharing their opinion on Martin St. Louis and his future with the Rangers and the NHL. It seems as if fans, and St. Louis himself, have no idea where this situation is going.
“For me right now, of course I want to play,” said St. Louis during the Rangers exit interviews. “But I’m not sure which direction this team is going to go either, so it’s tough to comment. But I’ve been blessed to play parts of two years here for a great organization. We’ll see where that takes me.”
The soon-to-be 40 year old is coming off the worst postseason of his professional career, scoring just one goal and adding six assists in nine games. He saw his role diminish from a top six forward, to playing 13 or 14 minutes a night in sheltered minutes on the fourth line. Read the rest of this entry