One of the simplest ways to find out the very best groups in any sport is to take a look at the standings, proper? In the event that they’ve been enjoying nicely, they’ll be close to the highest of the league. As Invoice Parcells stated, “You’re what your document says you might be.”
Within the NHL, everyone is aware of that the Panthers, Lightning, Golden Knights, Hurricanes, Predators, and Avalanche are good groups. Then, there’s the New York Rangers.
Don’t let names like All-Stars Adam Fox and Chris Kreider in addition to former Calder Trophy winner and Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin idiot you. They’re extremely stable gamers, however none of them can conceal what the Rangers are actually as much as.
With a document of 24-10-4, the Rangers needs to be one of the fearsome groups within the NHL, however their analytics recommend they’re merely a wolf in sheep’s clothes.
Regardless of holding a document ten video games over .500, the Rangers nonetheless have allowed extra objectives (66) than they’ve scored this season (65) when enjoying 5-on-5. The Rangers are the one group within the league with a plus-15 or higher whole objective differential to have a negative expected goal differential (-.08).
When it comes to Corsi Objectives For/Towards, the Rangers really rank as one of many worst groups within the league. In the event you have a look at MoneyPuck’s expected goals for versus allowed graph, the Rangers ought to theoretically be in the identical ballpark as group’s just like the San Jose Sharks, New Jersey Devils, and Anaheim Geese, all high quality groups, however nowhere close to the Rangers within the standings. Whereas the Geese are second within the Pacific Division, they’ve solely accrued 56.25 p.c of their whole potential factors. The Sharks: 53.95 p.c. The Devils: 44.59 p.c. In the meantime the Rangers, regardless of placing up comparable superior metrics have accrued 68.42 p.c of their whole potential factors.
So, what units them aside? And is what they’ve achieved sustainable for a complete season?
The primary query is easy. The group has been phenomenal on particular groups. After all, there are the apparent metrics like energy play proportion (Rangers rank ninth: 22.7 p.c) and penalty kill proportion (third: 85.5 p.c), but it surely’s greater than that. The Rangers have been terribly good at creating second-chance alternatives with the person benefit. The Rangers are top-eight in rebound pictures for and anticipated rebound pictures for all whereas being outdoors the top-10 in rebounds pictures for above anticipated with the person benefit.
That’s extremely onerous to do given the truth that they’ve really been unfortunate at creating these second-chance alternatives. Whereas the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets would possibly rank larger than the Rangers within the first two statistics, additionally they rank a lot larger within the third, that means the quantity of scoring probabilities these two groups have had from rebounds is way much less sustainable than what the Rangers are doing on offense.
Nevertheless, the defensive metrics inform a special story for the Rangers. Regardless of being third within the NHL in penalty kill proportion, the Rangers really rank twenty second within the NHL in anticipated objectives towards and twenty third in anticipated objective differential whereas enjoying 4-on-5. The Rangers have merely been bailed out time and time once more by their netminder, Igor Shesterkin.
In simply his third yr within the NHL, Shesterkin has already made a reputation for himself as one of many league’s premier goalies. He at the moment leads the NHL in each save proportion and objectives allowed common, and he’s carried out so whereas enjoying on a group that doesn’t actually give him all that a lot to work with.
Throughout all conditions, the Rangers have surrendered the second-most unblocked shot makes an attempt within the NHL (1702), solely forward of the Anaheim Geese (1804). Whereas that’s good for Shesterkin’s imaginative and prescient when making an attempt to cease the puck, it’s additionally indicative of a group that can be compelled to spend so much of time of their defensive zone since pucks are constantly attending to the online and being pushed deep into the Rangers’ defensive zone. That plus the truth that the Rangers are at the moment one of many worst faceoff groups within the league (47.81 win proportion) makes for one of the uneasy division leaders within the league.
The Rangers are not at all a nasty group. They’ve simply relied very closely on the power of their third-year goaltender (who ought to’ve been an All-Star by the way in which) and energy play. Whereas this plan has labored so far into the 2022 season, it’s confirmed to be an unreliable technique for sustained success.
The Rangers needs to be a bubble playoff group. As a substitute, they’ve been probably the greatest within the league. The analytics say it’s solely a matter of time earlier than they get introduced all the way down to earth, however hey, they’ve made it this far and haven’t seemed again as soon as.