There’s trouble in New York when it comes to the Rangers’ attitude towards competing and winning, suggests Larry Brooks of the New York Post. In fact, it’s such a big issue, Brooks believes the Rangers are in for big changes this offseason and a “shakeup” might be in order.
Brooks went into great depth about how telling the 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders was this past Thursday and suggested the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the leadership group. That includes the veterans, the top-end stars and the coaches. Brooks writes:
Once again, the Rangers’ marquee players, the ones with upper-echelon talent, the veteran ones who are supposed to show the way to the phalanx of youngsters, had nothing. Artemi Panarin was shockingly inept and never once was a factor in this one, failing to send one shot on net. Mika Zibanejad was slightly better but not by a margin distinctive enough to make the slightest bit of difference.
Brooks goes onto say that all signs that this Rangers team was once a playoff team is gone. The way they play is uninspired, the group seems to lack the energy to compete and a playoff spot in 2021 “almost seems like an afterthought.”
Brooks suggests that while this falls back on the top talents who are supposed to push the rest of the team forward, leading by example, this is also on coach David Quinn. Brooks says, “the head coach whose team not only lost decisively, but seemed lost from the get-go. The players were scattered and disconnected in all three zones. This one did not reflect well on anyone.”
Is One Game All You Need to Make Big Changes?
While this season is a downer for the Rangers, it’s fair to argue that few insiders pegged this group as a playoff contender from the outset of the season. Still, Brooks seems to suggest that this one game against the Islanders is so telling that big changes should be expected. Is that fair?
Is one bad game, a game in which no one really showed up to play all that an organization might need to suggest the game plan is flawed? Quinn said after the loss, “We’ve got to understand situational hockey better and not get frustrated. This is something we’re just going to have to learn from, and obviously a game of this magnitude, we’ve got to learn how to win games like this.” Clearly, he thinks it’s a big deal and the comments are that this issues are greater reaching that one game.
There’s a Bigger Issue at Play Here
What’s more unnerving is that the Rangers have consistently lost games like this to opponents who kick the physicality up a notch or offer more of a threat. In other words, the Rangers beat bad teams, but they can’t seem to beat good ones.
The Rangers are 16-6-2 against the three teams behind them in the division. They are 12-3-1 against New Jersey and Buffalo. But they are 10-13-4 against the four pending playoff qualifiers. That’s not a good sign. Brooks argues, “When time and space are at a premium, the Rangers don’t have either the mentality or the personnel to adapt. They are a one-trick team. This is not a matter of being young. This is a matter of not having the necessities.”
Would the Rangers Dare Trade Panarin?
While Brooks points a lot of fingers Panarin’s way, is he actually suggest the Rangers trade the superstar? He’s got five additional seasons on his current contract at a cap hit of $11.6 million per season. He’s far and away their most productive player. But, that’s a lot of money to pay a player who Brooks seems to suggest only shows up against the league’s weakest teams.
Our early assumption here is that the Rangers wouldn’t/shouldn’t do anything rash based on one strange season in which Panarin still has 56 points in 41 games. He’s a proven commodity and there will be teams interested if the Rangers actually decide to listen on an offer.
I guess it all depends on how big a shakeup the Rangers are looking to make is. Moving Panarin would reverberate throughout the Rangers organization for years and you the Rangers could make sweeping changes to the team with one big trade.
I don’t see it, but it will be interesting to see if there’s any talk this summer.
/ 7 hours ago
After a Game 1 loss in which they allowed five goals, Joel Quenneville has...
/ 1 day ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting a few players into their lineup, while also...
/ 4 days ago
Reports are Adam Larsson is close on a three or four-year extension with the...
/ 5 days ago
TSN's Darren Dreger notes that Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie is likely to test...
/ 6 days ago
Kevyn Adams didn’t seem angry, but he did seem a bit annoyed that there...
/ 6 days ago
After John Davidson and Jeff Gorton were fired by New York Rangers owner David...
/ 1 week ago
The Edmonton Oilers are making ground on a four-year extension with defenseman Adam Larsson.
/ 1 week ago
As per reports by multiple sources, John Tortorella has agreed to leave the Columbus...
/ 2 weeks ago
George Parros says he doesn't want the gig as head of NHL Department of...