Now that we are halfway through the season, we have a pretty good idea of who has contributed to the New York Rangers success.
Rather than simply saying that each player was important in their own way, I decided to rank the active players in order of least to most helpful to the Rangers this season only.
Let's take a look!
23. Marc Staal- In no way shape or form do I mean to say that Marc Staal is the 23rd best player on the Rangers roster, but considering Staal has only played in three games, he has been the least valuable of the Rangers this season.
22. Wotjek Wolski- Similar to Staal, Wolski's ranking is based on his lack of actual play. Wolski has tallied two assists in six games played.
21. Stu Bickel- In nine games played Bickel has been a pleasant surprise. Bickel has not been afraid to be physical, and also has four assists and a +/- of +three.
20. Erik Christensen- One goal and four assists in twenty games played for Mr. Invisible. Is anyone else surprised Christensen actually played in twenty games? I would have guessed twelve.
19. Jeff Woywitka- Woywitka hasn't exactly played well, but he has not been a complete liability defensively, either. Hard to believe Woywitka was once a first round pick.
18. Michael Rupp- Rupp was the star of the Winter Classic outside of Henrik Lundqvist, but injuries have limited Rupp otherwise. I expect by the end of the season Rupp will be in the top 15.
17. John Mitchell- The Rangers lone trade deadline acquisition last season, Mitchell finally earned a spot on the roster this season when he was promoted along with Carl Hagelin. Mitchell's defense and physical play has not only kept him in the NHL, but also kept him from being benched for Wotjek Wolski.
16. Anton Stralman- Glen Sather and whichever scouts suggested Stralman deserve a lot of credit. Stralman has been more than serviceable as a second line defensemen, filling in when the Rangers absolutely needed him. Stralman won't be the most physical player on the ice, but he can pass and rarely make mistakes.
Follow me after the jump for the top fifteen.15. Carl Hagelin- Hagelin provided much needed offense for the Rangers right upon being promoted to the NHL. One interesting fact is that of Hagelin's seven goals, five of them came against Atlantic Division, or playoff Eastern Conference teams.
14. Ruslan Fedotenko- Fedotenko's age has shown this season, but I like to call him the Pu Pu Platter. Fedotenko will give you a little bit of everything, and for a fourth liner that is perfect for the Rangers.
13. Martin Biron- You may question Biron, the backup goalie, being ahead of Fedotenko, who plays consistently, but without Biron the Rangers would not be a first place team. Biron's been outstanding backing up Henrik Lundqvist, winning eight games, and only losing two.
12. Brian Boyle- Boyle's two goals are not impressive, but Boyle was never supposed to be a scorer. One of the best defensive players on the team, Boyle has shut down first line players with his physical play.
11. Brandon Prust- For fear of being beaten up, I shall say no bad words about Brandon Prust. Prust, who has an awesome first name, has contributed with his slick passing (Winter Classic!) and fighting, totaling 71 penalty minutes.
10. Brandon Dubinsky- In a season that Dubinsky could not seem to find his scoring touch, Dubinsky found other ways to contribute. Dubinsky's passing game has improved, and defensively Dubinsky has still consistently helped the Rangers.
9. Artem Anisimov- In addition to his....interesting celebration earlier in the season, Anisimov's two way game has been essential to the Rangers success. Joining Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik did wonders for Anisimov, as well as the other two. Underrated player.
8. Derek Stepan- Stepan is primed to break out even further, but his 27 points are nothing to laugh at. Stepan is another key piece of the GAS line, and has already scored two game winning goals.
7. Michael Del Zotto- Del Zotto is among the best players in the NHL in plus minus, but his defensive play is what has impressed most. Del Zotto, although making a few, has not been prone to the same errors he was last season, and has contributed in almost every aspect of the Rangers game. Truly a break out season for #4.
6. Brad Richards- Safe to say Richards has been a successful signing so far. Although not being on a line with Marian Gaborik like expected, Richards has shined in the spotlight, scoring six game winning goals of his fifteen goals overall.
5. Ryan McDonagh- Thank you Montreal Canadiens. We knew Ryan McDonagh was good, but not this good. McDonagh has been among the best defensemen in the NHL this season, which was sorely needed by the Rangers. Paired with Dan Girardi, McDonagh helped shut down top line players consistently so far.
4. Ryan Callahan- Captain Callahan has done it again. Great season so far for Callahan, who equaled Richards' 31 point total, but also added 49 PIM to go with it. Also, Callahan has 139 hits. All around player has played all around games, and the Rangers are benefiting enormously because of it.
3. Dan Girardi- Girardi put his stamp on the NHL this season by stopping great player after great player after great player. Girardi may not have the goals or assists, but he has to be in the top five defensive defensemen this season.
2. Marian Gaborik- Heeeeeeeee's back! After an "off" season for Gaborik, the winger has already eclipsed his 2010 goals and game winning goals totals. The star of the Rangers offense, Gaborik has not had an extended slump yet, and it seems like when he is on the team is on.
1. Henrik Lundqvist- King Henrik has really been the king. 1.89 GAA, .939 save percentage, three shutouts, eighteen wins, is there anything else I need to say? Biron has been great, but without Lundqvist the Rangers likely aren't a top five team in the Conference, better yet a top five team in the league. Perhaps this will finally be the season Lundqvist wins the Vezina.