NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 26: Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers celebrates his 2-0 shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on November 26, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers are approximately 25% done with their season, compiling a 12-5-3 record through the first 20 games. Here at Blueshirt Banter, we'll be reviewing the players and giving them grades based on the first quarter of the season.
This subject will be broken up into two parts and today we'll start with defenseman and goalies.
Henrik Lundqvist: What can you say about the Rangers goaltender? Lundqvist has done everything for the Rangers thus far this season. He's sporting a 9-4-3 record, a 2.05 GAA, a 93.5 saving percentage and has shut out opponents twice so far this season. His play has been a big reason why the Rangers are where they are in the standings. He's been brilliant, not much more analysis needed beyond that. A+
Martin Biron: The Rangers' backup goaltender has also done a fantastic job this season and has played a modest five games through the first 20 so far this season. That puts him on pace to play 20 games this year, which is what the expectations were during the offseason. Simply put, Biron has made his starts count. He is 3-1 with a 1.68 GAA and a 93.7 save percentage. Oh, he has a shutout too. For the role he plays with the team, Biron couldn't be doing any better. A+
Join me after the jump for more.
Dan Girardi: The Rangers needed a guy to step up with Marc Staal out of the lineup. Enter Dan Girardi. Girardi is averaging just under 28 minutes of ice time a night, has 11 points in 20 games and has been tasked with shutting down whatever threats the Rangers' foes have to offer. He's done everything expected for the Rangers defensively and has stepped up massively when it comes to his offensive output. Another guy who simply can't do any more for this team. A+
t;sbn-auto-link">Ryan McDonagh: While Girardi was expected to be the guy who filled Staal's shoes, John Tortorella didn't know who was going to fill Girardi's role as the No. 2 defenseman. McDonagh has assumed that role brilliantly. McDonagh is another player who is doing a little bit of everything for the Rangers on the defensive side of the puck. McDonagh, like Girardi, has also stepped up offensively, posting three goals and seven assists for 10 points in his first 20 games. Oh yeah, he's also playing over 25 minutes a night. A+
Michael Del Zotto: Del Zotto has been significantly better this season when compared to the style of play he exhibited last year which earned him a stint in the AHL. Del Zotto has improved defensively, is playing big minutes and hasn't been anywhere near as bad as some on the Internet will have you believe. He only has seven points on the year -- which does put him on pace for a respectable 28-point season -- and while his defense has seen significant improvement (which was necessary) now it's time to see him post up some numbers on the offensive side of things. B
Michael Sauer: Sauer has been a steady force on the Rangers' blue line since last year. Sauer has been serviceable this year and is averaging nearly 19 minutes a night. He's not a flashy defenseman, he doesn't wow you with his play but he takes care of business night in and night out. B+
Steve Eminger: When Eminger signed with the Rangers this season he did so expecting to be a 7th defenseman. Thus far he's played in every single game this season. Eminger was never expected to blow the doors off but he's been OK for the Rangers in his role on the third pairing. B-
Jeff Woywitka: The Rangers picked Woywitka up off the waiver wire earlier in the season, and he's been proving himself ever since. He's only averaging 11 minutes a night but, like Eminger, he's played fine in the role he's in. B-
Tim Erixon: Not really enough time with the big club, nor is it fair to judge a pie-eyed rookie. INC