One thing you can always count on with Ranger fandon (or NY fandom for that matter) is a whipping boy no matter how successful the team is.
So who are the whipping boyz of 11/12? Names I see included are Boyle, Anisimov, Dubi, WW, Avery , EC and Rupp.
Let us tackle the obvious:
Rupp: After his performance in Florida and the WC I think that will shut up most for the time being. But bottom line is he has not played enough to warrant any conclusive whippings. Silly stat but interesting none the less. For all forwards that have played 10 games or more, Rupp is 2nd in the league with Goals per 60. Behind Stamkos and ahead of Gabby, Toews; etc... (Haggs is 26th)
EC: Can't defend this one. Whip away!
WW: Has not played enough to warrant any whippings.....yet
Avery: Not on the team so irrelevant
Dubi: So far few can really defend this one. He needs to step up. The Rangers need him to step up. But he has shown over the past few games that he might be turning the corner. Holster the whip for the time being.
Now the less obvious:
Anisimov: I don't know what games you are watching but AA has really taken his game to the next step. When I watch the GAS line to me it is AA that is driving the rushes. His defensive plays in the defensive zone and transition game has really been feeding that line. Sure Step and Gabby have been good a well but to not include AA (who is being asked to not play his natural position) is a shame. Proof you ask?
- AA is tied with Gabby for the Rangers lead in Points/per 60min which is also good for 43rd in the league.
- He is 26th in the league for Primary assists per 60. Best on the Rangers by a good margin.
- 2nd on the team with Secondary assists per 60. Good for 32nd in the league.
If going by just pure production, AA is our 2nd best forward after Gabby. Sure it would be great if he could pot a few more. True he is not facing the type of competition he was last year so it is nice to see what the kid can do without going against top competition. I said it before and I still stand by it, he will be our mini-Datsyuk in a few years.
Boyle: Yeah I admit it, I was one of those people who thought Boyle could reproduce, or at least come close to, his production from last year. Does that mean his year is a disappointment? Offensively, yeah if you expected him to score 20+ goals. Defensively? Not at all. He IS our defensive forward. Proof?
- Only 6 other forwards in the ENTIRE league have started in the defensive zone more than Boyle.
- For forwards that have started in the Def zone more than the off zone (51 to 100% Dzone starts) only 14 players in the entire league have been on the ice for less goals against per 60min.
- In fact, if you look at forwards that start in the dzone 60%+ of the time only 4 have a positive +/- per 60. Boyle is 3rd out of those 4
- Ranks 25th in league with defensive zone faceoffs won. Which is a 54% def zone winning percentage. BR 48%; Dubi 47%
Is he playing Selke level? No, but he is our MacT. Those that want to trade him I offer you one question (ok, three questions). Who will replace him in that role? Who on the team will start that much in the D zone and not have their offense impacted? And who is going to win those face offs? That is one of our weakest spots and might actually be the cause of our death come playoff time.
I know I did not go deep into other adv. stats but I did look at them and none of them would indicate that AA or Boyle 'suck' despite the numbers above.