Vaclav: Even Better than We Thought. - Bruce Bennett
While there may be no current hockey to analyze, we can always look to the past. Ranking the Top Ten Individual Ranger Seasons of the past five.
As we trudge on with no Hockey, there are no numbers to rile everyone up with. It's a shame, I know, but alas we can still look to the past and analyze players (and rank them - because rankings never end well). Below is the link to an excel sheet where I compiled all NYR players with a minimum of 40 GP each season since the 2007-08 campaign. I then sorted the sheet by Corsi Rel (Relative Cosri), which is simply explained here by our friends at Broad Street Hockey:
Relative Corsi: measures the difference in Corsi between a player's on-ice performance and his team's performance when he's on the bench.
Click here for anyone who wants to see the spreadsheet. Please do play around and ask any questions you may have. The color coding for the spreadsheet is simply: Yellow implies the best, Red means the worst, and the Blue near both ends means Honorable Mention.
Corsi, just as a reminder, is all shots directed on net (blocked, missed, and on goal) presented in a+/- form for each player. Naturally, the premise of this whole article is to rank the Rangers by their micro (advanced) stats, and not just their counting numbers. I did take their total Goals and Assists into play for the season, but more so as an afterthought. Plus, if you take a look at the spreadsheet, P/60 (or Points per 60 Minutes) is a very good barometer for how effective the player was scoring with his given ice time.
With all that cleared up, let's go ahead and identify ten of the best individual Ranger seasons of the past five seasons, excluding goaltenders. Also, because we can't be biased to only the good, I will also unveil ten of the worst individual Ranger seasons tomorrow in a similar post.
Ten to one, because I want to make the skimmers scroll this morning.
10) Sean Avery, 2008-09, 41 GP.
After a failed experience in Dallas, Avery came back and posted 12 points in 18 games, justifying why a Sean Avery jersey hangs on my wall and to help revive a Rangers club whose playoff chances slipped below 40% as the calendar turned to March. He holds the 4th highest Corsi Rel in the five year stretch while being deployed offensively against above-average competition. He sits at 10, though, due to only playing half the NHL season, and only 18 in a NYR jersey.
9) Brandon Dubinsky, 2008-09, 82 GP.
Member of the 2011-12 NYR whipping boy club due to some poor shooting luck to start the season, Dubinsky matched his very solid rookie year with an almost identical sophomore season, but against tougher competition and with more ice time. He was still deployed offensively, but less so than the rookie year. He would be handed a tougher role the year after, but saw his goal total inflate due to a good amount of luck.
8) Marc Staal, 2008-09, 82 GP.
In another sophomore performance, the only defenseman to make this list played top minutes against top line competition, all season long. At only 22, it was apparent the 2005 first rounder was worth it, despite the poor luck shooting wise he and his teammates seemed to experience when he was on the ice (lowest PDO/2nd lowest On-Ice Shot% of this list).
7) Markus Naslund, 2008-09, 82 GP.
At the solid age of 35, Mr. Naslund did all he could with his 10.4 Corsi Rel against top six competition. He was another member of the bad luck crew of 08/09, but he still managed 46 points in 82 GP from his offensive role.
Side Note: Tom Renney really got screwed in 2008-09. A top-third NHL club in terms of shot ratio, the puck simply could not find the back of the net that year for NYR.
5) Scott Gomez, 2007-08, 81 GP.
Now the fun starts, because I'm sure you weren't expecting a name like that, but in 07/08, the newly signed Gomez played almost as his contract advertised. Playing against stiff competition, he managed his second highest PPG rate (0.86) of his career, meshing well with Jaromir Jagr (coming up).
6) Scott Gomez, 2008-09, 77 GP.
AGAIN?!? Yes, Gomez was generally over-paid, but in his two years as he developed into a (apparently undeserved) whipping boy he was also one of the best Ranger players. He played equally as tough of competition as 07/08, all while garnering the 3rd highest Corsi Rel of the period and keeping his Point total in the same ballpark (0.75 PPG).
4) Carl Hagelin, 2011-12, 64 GP.
No one saw the Michigan draft pick of 2007 having such an impact during his rookie season, and if you in fact did, then PROVE IT. What's most impressive to me is that Hagelin played against top-six competition in a balanced role and managed to score 2.4 Points/60 (0.59 PPG) - good for second during this period behind someone coming up on the list. Is he the real deal? We will eventually find out, but his season is reminiscent of a now-Blue Jacket's rookie campaign (DUBIIIII).
3) Jaromir Jagr, 2007-08, 82 GP.
Ahh, the Jagr days. Our runner-up Corsi Rel player (to Zuccarello, who didn't make the list because he did it against bottom-six comp.) of this five-year stretch, Jagr produced a 71 point "retirement" season on a team that actually played very, very well in the second half. He did it against top competition in an offensively-deployed role, but it proves why he was still effective for the Flyers in 2011-12 after three years out of the league.
2) Nikolai Zherdev, 2008-09, 82 GP.
The "enigmatic" (god I hate that word) Russian produced the 5th best Corsi Rel of the period, and tied Scott Gomez for leading scorer on a snake-bitten 08/09 squad. He was often knocked for his defensive efforts, which is a classic mix-up of expectations because of his skill level, but for anyone to say he was ineffective as a whole is wrong to me. He carried a club that fell flat offensively, and did so against top-line competition.
1) Vinny Prospal, 2009-10, 75 GP.
In one of Glen Sather's shrewdest moves, Vinny Prospal put up 20 goals and 58 points against one of the stiffest Quality of Competition numbers I've ever seen. To my best knowledge, average competition is rated 0.00, while top-line competition is rated in the ballpark of 0.5. During his season, Prospal ended up with a QoC rating of 0.102 - its like he was playing an all-star team all year. 2010-11 could have been different had Prospal not missed 53 games with a knee injury.
So that's that. This is not a perfect list, just as in Hockey the team that makes fewer mistakes usually wins. Let's hear it in the comments, because we all need a distraction from the declining year.