So, this is an update to a previous post, and this one will be a bit shorter. Basically I've projected the current team's stats to a full season to compare where everyone is in relation to last year. Scoring seems to be the Rangers biggest issue this season, some would say grit, but considering in the 14 losses this year the Rangers have managed to score only 16 goals we'll start there. Also of note in 11 of those 14 losses the Rangers scored 1 or no goals, 2 of the other 3 losses were by a single goal margin.
Projected: 193.4 (Tied for 29th in the league)
2012: 222 (11th in the league)
So that looks terrible, let's blame Boyle's terrible one goal season and the loss of scoring machine Prust, right? Here is a look at where the 28 goal differential is coming from.
Projected Top 6 goals: 131.7 / 2012: 142 (-10.3 goals)
Projected D goals: 27.2 / 2012: 28 (-0.8 goals)
Projected Everyone else: 34.8 / 2012: 52 (-17.2 goals)
So the immediate reaction would be to blame depth, On the surface 34.8 goals for half your offense over a full season is rough. In my opinion though only blaming the depth issue, neglects to consider some individual performance deficits. Let's break down the top six (who are the same guys as last year, except Nash replaces Anisimov):
Gaborik Projected: 22 / 2012: 41 (-19 goals)
Richards Projected: 12 / 2012: 25 (-13 goals)
Callahan Projected: 22 / 2012: 29 (-7 goals)
Stepan Projected: 25 / 2012: 17 (+8 goals)
Hagelin Projected: 20 / 2012: 14 (+6 goals)
Nash: Projected: 30 / 2012: 30 (+14 goals compared to Anismov's 16 last season)
So by just adding Nash, you almost offset the entire deficit outside of the top six scorers. On the other hand Gaborik, Richards, and Callahan combine for a -38 goals compared to last season. A deficit greater by 10 goals than the entire team compared to last year. As a whole, the team outside of these 3 players, are on pace to score 10 more goals than last season. On top of that, last season the Rangers scored 10 empty net goals versus the 4.8 the team is on pace to score this year which inflates the difference between last year even more.
It might seem crazy to say now, but only two people scored more goals than Gaborik last season, Malkin and Stamkos. For a team like the Rangers who play tight defensive games, losing a player's production at the level, in my opinion is the biggest issue the team is facing this year, and to have your next two top scorers drop-off as well puts them in the position they are in now fighting for a playoff spot. Why this is happening I'll leave for a separate discussion, but that more than depth is I think is what is causing problems this year.
So here is the good news, this team has lot of potential for more scoring moving forward. Either from the top by players getting goal numbers closer to their career averages, or from the bottom 6 by players having just mediocre seasons. For example Boyle is shooting 2.8% and Miller is at 5.1%, last season Boyle had the worst shooting % amongst forwards on the team at 6.7% shooting. Those numbers are bound to go up. Even the defense have room for improvement in terms of shots ending up in the net, Girardi (1.7% vs 4.1%) McDonagh (3.8% vs 5.7%), and Del Zotto (5.1% vs 8.8%).
So, hopefully the Rangers go on a 31 game winning streak starting today (the 15 games left in the season + 4 play series).