Today is the Rangers Day. NHL.com feature on 30 teams in 30 days this month.
Can the power play improve? -- On a team with prominent weaknesses, none was more glaring than the power play. In each of the past two seasons, the Rangers' power play ranked 23rd in the League with a 15.7 percent success rate. That performance was troubling, then the man-advantage disappeared entirely in the postseason.
At a 9.1 percent success rate in the 2013 playoffs, the Rangers ranked ahead of only the Minnesota Wild, who failed to score on 17 opportunities in their five-game opening-round loss to the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks. With the Rangers' unit sputtering, Tortorella held an open audition to quarterback it, with everyone from Richards to Derick Brassard getting a chance.
Vigneault molded one of the League's top power-play units in Vancouver and will be expected to use some of that expertise to improve New York on the man-advantage.
This is one of the best rosters in the Eastern Conference, especially if Richards manages a better season with a new coaching staff. How the team plays for Vigneault could be the difference between challenging for a division title and being considered a Stanley Cup contender and just trying to get into the playoffs, like the Rangers did a year ago.
No doubt the PP is going to be a huge factor this year, as it always seems to be.
Looking back at the playoffs if the Rangers just had an average PP, just average - they would have scored about 3-4 more goals throughout those 2 rounds. They don't go to 7 with Washington if that happens, and they probably don't go down 0-2 to Boston in the second round.
Its that important. It deflated the team so many times and took on a life of its own throughout the year and especially throughout the playoffs.
I think AV needs to focus on just getting this team to realize they don't have to be perfect, or even in the top 3rd of the league, just effective (average). We say it all the time, the Rangers need someone, anyone to get shots to the net on the PP from the point. Whether thats Moore, Richards, McDonagh or someone else, it needs to happen and it needs to happen consistently.
I thought Brassard did some really great things on the half-wall that lead to a lot of PP opportunities and some goals. The way he slides around into open space with the puck opens up a lot of lanes for his teammates. He has a knack for that and I think they should try him on the top unit.
Again, it doesnt have to be sexy it just has to be effective. The difference between a bad PP team and an average one is about 6-9 goals. Spread that out through the course of the year and its a few more Reg wins and more points that could be the difference in seeding or even making the playoffs.
Last edited by HockeyBasedNYC: 08-29-2013 at 11:49 AM.