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New York Rangers by the numbers after 11 games: What they’ve done, what needs to change


We’re through 11 games of the Rangers season and, as you’ll see below, Gerard Gallant’s self-evaluation number of his team is squarely in the “good-ish” range.

Let’s sift through a few other numbers that offer a view into what the Rangers have done so far, what they need to change and where they can go as we head into the second month of the season.

4-0-2

The Rangers’ record when tied after two periods, giving them the most points of any team in the league when entering the third tied. Now, this one has two sides to it — you’d certainly prefer to be leading after two so not being able to pull away from their opponents is a space to improve upon. But this is part of a good pattern: Last year’s Rangers also led the league with 17 wins (17-4-1) when tied after two.

It’s a bit of a playoff mentality that close games don’t faze you. They clearly don’t faze Igor Shesterkin, who ranks second in the league so far in goals saved above expectation in tie games. With a whole team that feels comfortable in such uncomfortable situations, that’s a strong sign for when the games get more important.

12.3

The Rangers’ expected goals total on the power play (courtesy Clear Sight Hockey), another number that leads the league. The results part of the Rangers power play has been just OK — currently converting at a 22 percent clip, good for just 17th in the league. But the chances are there, as evidenced by the xG number — one you could extrapolate out to a full season and have it come out to 91.7.

For comparison’s sake, the top team last season had 63.9 xG. You generate that many chances and that many good chances, you will score goals — lots of them. So this pace may not be sustainable, but even if it tails off a bit, the Rangers will inevitably improve their power-play results. And that is where this team butters its bread on offense.

35

That’s the goal-scoring pace for Artemi Panarin through 11 games. He’s cracked the 30-goal plateau three times in his seven NHL seasons so it’s not like this is groundbreaking stuff, but he’s become such a reliable set-up man that it’s easy to forget what a skilled shooter and scorer he is. Panarin has been the Rangers MVP so far, without question, and he’s on pace to get close to Jaromir Jagr’s 123-point team record for a single season.


Artemi Panarin. (Chris Jones / USA Today)

He may not make it but if he cracks 30 goals, you know the Rangers offense is clicking.

16:45 vs. 13:59

Alexis Lafrenière’s ice time, this season vs. last season. The 21-year-old has needed a little pep talk from Gallant about making sure he’s playing a straight-line game — not the easiest when your linemate is Panarin and he’s weaving and bobbing all over the place — but Lafrenière has benefited from being a solid second-liner with much bigger minutes and the Rangers have benefited from not having to worry about who’s playing where in the top six and whether Lafrenière is OK playing the right side.

The goal is to have your best players on the ice the most. With Lafrenière ensconced with Panarin and Vincent Trocheck and Kaapo Kakko (16:19 a game this season vs. 15:27 last season) entrenched with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, the Rangers have optimized their talent so far.

28:52

That’s Vitali Kravtsov’s total ice time this season. Kravtsov is on his third injury absence, one that will last into next week at a minimum. Gallant can’t count on him, which is a real concern for a team that’s trying to bank cap space by keeping 13 forwards on the roster. Kravtsov was going to be the second-line right wing and benefit from being around Panarin; now the affable 23-year-old is spending more time with the medical staff than anyone else.

Kravtsov’s absence, along with Filip Chytil missing a week, has reduced the Rangers bottom six to basically two fourth lines. It generated some offense against the Avalanche and Stars, but the goal for the current third and fourth lines is mostly to tie their shifts and get off the ice.

Unless Kravtsov makes a dramatic turnaround and becomes a reliable player in the lineup, Gallant and GM Chris Drury could be scrambling to find depth forward help again rather than going for broke as the trade deadline nears.

19:20

K’Andre Miller leads the Rangers in even-strength ice time and he’s among the top 25 players in the league with that number. Miller is adjusting to life as the top-pair defenseman in 5v5 situations and his game so far has been steady if unspectacular, but there’s nothing wrong with those adjectives for a defenseman whose main job is to keep the other team off the scoresheet.

Miller’s emergence has trickle-down effects, too. Adam Fox’s even-strength ice time is down 62 seconds a game from last year, preserving his energy for special teams, where he’s needed on the power play and a bit more on the penalty kill this season. The Ryan Lindgren-Fox pair doesn’t get the top opposing line as it did early last season, when Miller was working through some rough edges.

443

The number of shot attempts the Rangers goalies have faced this season, down from 502 through 11 games a year ago. Shesterkin plays his fourth game in six days on Thursday against the Bruins and it’s still a bit of a surprise he’s gone on this run: back-to-back games in Dallas and Arizona, his first time playing consecutive days since doing so as a rookie in 2019-20, followed by a long flight home, day off, then another game against the Flyers, practice, and now a fourth straight start.

None of that is possible if the Rangers are giving up the same volume of shots they did in the first two months of 2021-22. Shesterkin hasn’t been as amazing as he was last season but he hasn’t needed to be, which bodes well as this season unfolds. There’s no more important person on this Rangers team than Shesterkin and, unless Gallant gets carried away and plays him 20 in a row, he’ll be fresher thanks to a team that’s possessing the puck and defending better in front of him.

56.1

Trocheck’s faceoff percentage so far. It’s been a decade since the Rangers were a 50 percent faceoff-winning team — and they were exactly 50 percent in 2012-13 — which proves two things: They’ve been bad at faceoffs for a long time and faceoffs don’t quite matter most of the time.

But Trocheck’s addition has made the Rangers a solid team in the circle, currently ranking 10th at 52.5 percent. Zibanejad (53.1 percent) and Trocheck have taken 352 of the 598 draws so far and will certainly take the bulk of them going forward. Trocheck has taken 50 power-play faceoffs and Zibanejad just six, which allows Zibanejad to set up in his shooter’s spot quicker.

Last season, Zibanejad took 225 power-play draws to Ryan Strome’s 46. Less energy expended by Zibanejad means a better power play.

2-2-4

Will Cuylle’s totals through six games in Hartford. If the Rangers bottom six is going to be a mishmash of depth players and the Rangers don’t have the cap space to burn on adding someone more skilled to that group, Cuylle is the most logical call-up at some point. The 20-year-old wing is second on the Wolf Pack with 18 shots on goal and has been consistently solid, according to a couple pro scouts who have seen Hartford this season.

Julien Gauthier had his big moment in Dallas but is seemingly back to the Gauthier of old, while Jimmy Vesey has struggled to find any consistency in his limited minutes. The bottom six will need a boost at this rate and Cuylle is the likely one to provide it.

8th

This is where the Rangers rank in high-danger chance differential at even strength (again courtesy Clear Sight Hockey). In CSH’s historical data going back five seasons, high-danger chance differential at even strength is the best indicator of regular-season success — the top 16 teams in this metric are almost always the 16 playoff teams.

The Rangers are squarely in the top 16 so far, thanks in large part to sitting third in the league with 6.27 HD chances for per game. They’re still giving up a bit too much (5.18 HD chances against), but that is still better than last season through the first month.

6

This was Gallant’s assessment of his team on a 1-to-10 scale prior to the win over the Flyers on Tuesday. Maybe it went up half a point with the dominant performance against Philly, but he was grading pretty tough.

“OK,” he said. “Could be better, but OK.”

That’s fair, given some mixed results. But the data tells a positive story so far about this team.

(Top photo of Igor Shesterkin making a save: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)





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