For those who missed the first post in this series, every 10 games I will be posting a chart of the New York Rangers’ Game Score results. Before diving into Games 11 to 20, I want to address some of the comments from the first post. I am aware Game Score is not a foolproof method; it is not a be all end all statistic and it has some shortcomings. This series is just looking at the results of games played through a different lens to present findings in another way.
As a refresher, here is the formula for Game Score.
Player Game Score = (0.75 * G) + (0.7 * A1) + (0.55 * A2) + (0.075 * SOG) + (0.05 * BLK) + (0.15 * PD) – (0.15 * PT) + (0.01 * FOW) – (0.01 * FOL) + (0.05 * CF) – (0.05 * CA) + (0.15 * GF) – (0.15* GA)
Goalie Game Score = (-0.75 * GA) + (0.1 * SV)
It should be noted that Corsi and Goal stats are 5v5 adjusted, and all other stats include all situations. Per game represents average Game Score per game which is calculated by taking Total Game Score and dividing it by number of games played.
With that said, here is a look at a Rangers’ squad that went 7-3-0 over their last 10 games.
Once again there was no “great” Ranger but that has more to do with there being a high threshold needed to be classified as such (an average Game Score of 1.40 or greater as a skater, or 2.50 as a goalie)
Good: Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Shattenkirk, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Ryan McDonagh
This is a huge improvement as the Rangers had only one “good” player through the first 10 games. This stretch had six, and the names all make sense for the most part. Pavel Buchnevich is producing at a scorching pace and had seven goals and 11 points in 10 games played. He was a beast 5v5 with six points, which he scored at a team-leading rate of 3.08 points per 60. Buchnevich also tied with Mika Zibanejad for a team-best Corsi differential of plus-16. The only negative on his stat line was a negative faceoff differential, but isn’t too meaningful to a winger.
Zibanejad once again was a beast with 12 points in 10 games. He drove possession, blocked shots when necessary and was a positive in penalty differential by drawing more penalties than he took. The one thing that knocked him down from Buchnevich was goal differential. Buchnevich was a plus-1 5v5 whereas Zibanejad was a minus-2.
This duo has shown great chemistry this year and the Rangers seem to have found something special.
I think it is fair to say that Rick Nash has been one of the Rangers’ better forwards this season, KZB withstanding, and the only difference from the last 10 games is the fact that pucks are now going in the net.
Here’s what I said about Nash’s performance for Games 1 to 10.
Nash has one goal on the season in over 165 minutes of all situation ice time on 39 shots. He has also had the misfortune of being on the ice for several 5v5 goals scored against, making his differential drop to minus-5. There have been times in which Nash has made a great move only to be foiled by a post or an amazing save, and he really should have about five goals at this point. He’s doing everything required to score a goal, but the puck isn’t going in. He’s a player who seems due to breakout, because he isn’t going to shoot 2.6 percent all season long.
Over the last 10 games Nash has six goals on 31 shots and 10 points. He is also a plus-4 in 5v5 goal differential during that stretch – which is a positive swing of nine goals for Nash vs. the first 10 games and that’s a major difference. The only negative part of Nash’s last 10 games is that he possesses a minus-15 Corsi differential. Had Nash been neutral, his average Game Score would have improved to 1.05 for context. There isn’t much more that Nash could be doing right now, as he’s also blocking shots, killing penalties and drawing them as well.
It has been only 20 games, but Kevin Shattenkirk has been an amazing addition to the Rangers. For the first time in years the power play looks competent, and it helps to have a versatile power play quarterback like Shattenkirk at the helm.
Coming into this season, it was known that Shattenkirk was a good passer, but he also has a great knack of getting his shot through traffic.
In this stretch of games, he tallied three goals and seven assists for 10 points. He also finished with a 5v5 Corsi differential of plus-4 and a 5v5 goal differential of minus-1. Although he’s known to be an offensive defender, Shattenkirk blocked 18 shots which was second among all skaters to Ryan McDonagh. I won’t say much more about what Shattenkirk has meant to the team, because Mike did an excellent job in this story from Sunday.
Michael Grabner found his way into the good category by having quite a month offensively. In 10 games Grabner tallied seven goals and eight points on 32 shots. He also sported a positive 5v5 goal differential of plus-3 and a slightly negative 5v5 Corsi differential of minus-2. It should be noted that half of Grabner’s goals this season have been empty netters, but Adam wrote a great story about it, and why we shouldn’t be penalizing him for this skill.
Ryan McDonagh had a rough first 10 games offensively and he’s starting to turn the corner. It would be nice if he could be given a steady partner for the rest of the season, because consistency is crucial on the blue line. His statline includes nine assists and 21 shots but no goals over the last 10 games. One those assists was a nice feed to Buchnevich who cut through the Boston Bruins like a hot knife through butter.
McDonagh also sported a positive 5v5 goal differential of plus-4, but he took a nosedive in 5v5 Corsi with a minus-13 after sporting a plus-14 in the first 10 games.
Fine: Henrik Lundqvist, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Ondrej Pavelec, Boo Nieves, Brady Skjei, Kevin Hayes, Nick Holden, Jesper Fast
This time there were only 10 players who were “fine” as opposed to 15 during the first 10 games. Like last time I won’t touch on every player, but instead some of the storylines I found to be interesting.
1. Henrik Lundqvist Is Getting Back On Track
If you ran a search on Lundqvist’ stats over the last 10 games on NHL.com, it would spit back a result of 6-2-0 with a 0.915 save percentage and a 2.84 goals-against average. Frankly those numbers do not do any justice to how good Hank has had to be for his team. If you went to Corsica, you’d see he had a 2.11 GSAA during that stretch which means he prevented over two goals against per game more than the league average. In addition to that, over the last 10 games Lundqvist faced the second-most high danger chances (86).
Lundqvist appeared in eight of those 10 Ranger games, yet he faced only 10 fewer chances than Cam Talbot did over the course of 10 games. In other words, the Rangers forced Hank to do a lot of heavy lifting, and he performed well all things considered.
2. Mats Zuccarello Quietly Continues To Pick Up Points
Zuccarello’s average Game Score was 0.60 which was 0.15 off from the “good” category. The biggest negative here was a sub par 5v5 Corsi differential of minus-15. Had Zuccarello been a plus-15 he would have hit 0.75 right on the nose, and a neutral differential bumps him up to 0.68. The remainder of his stat line is very good with a goal and six assists, 20 shots on goal, eight blocks and a plus-3 5v5 goal differential. What is lame though, is a minus-7 faceoff differential which seems to be a result of the new faceoff rule. Linesmen have been quick to kick out centers from the faceoff circle forcing wingers to step in and take a draw. All things considered he played well over the last 10 games and he’s having a great season.
3. J.T. Miller Is Putting Up Points But His Underlying Numbers Suck
Miller has been something of an enigma this year. On the surface he has put up points but he’s looked ugly doing it. What I mean is that over the last 10 games Miller tallied a goal and six assists while taking 14 shots on goal. Additionally he has a minus-15 5v5 Corsi differential and minus-3 5v5 goal differential. Those numbers convert to a CF% of 47.04 and a GF% of 40.00. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Whether or not this trend continues remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to follow because this is a contract year for Miller.
4. Nick Holden, Top Pair Defender?
Nick Holden averaged a Game Score of 0.31 over the last 10 games, of which he appeared in nine games. During the stretch he had two points, 10 shots, seven blocks and a 5v5 Corsi and goal differential of plus-2. This line isn’t bad, but it isn’t good either. As Evan Sporer pointed out, Holden with McDonagh has been competent but that has been more about the Rangers’ captain than anything else.
Holden is the least of the Rangers problems right now, but you wonder how long this trend will continue.
Poor: Jimmy Vesey, Brendan Smith, David Desharnais, Paul Carey, Steven Kampfer, Marc Staal
The common denominator with these players, Brendan Smith and Paul Carey withstanding due to a lack of games played, is getting shelled in the possession game and bleeding goals.
- Vesey was a minus-30 in Corsi and minus-4 in goals.
- Desharnais was a minus-34 in Corsi and minus-3 in goals.
- Kampfer was a minus-27 in Corsi and minus-3 in goals.
- Staal was a minus-38 in Corsi and a minus-6 in goals.
With this knowledge, it is hard to see why Kampfer was kept in the lineup while Smith sat for six consecutive games. The elephant in the room surrounding Smith was rumors that he came into camp in poor shape. This hasn’t been formally addressed, but repeated scratches seemed to imply the notion of sending a message.
It will be interesting to see what Staal’s numbers look like the next 10 games if he remains with Smith. His numbers were the worst of this group, but could have been influenced by skating with Kampfer.
At some point the Rangers would be smart to give a defender from Hartford a look. Staal could benefit from some nights off every now and then, and it would be better to give one of the baby Rangers a look over Kampfer.
Once again, no players were awful which is a good thing.
*Stats via Natural Stat Trick and Corsica unless otherwise noted.