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Rangers Radar: Pajuniemi is on Fire

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Catching up with the Rangers’ Finnish prospects

2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s time for another installment of Blueshirt Banter’s Rangers Radar, where we focus the spotlight on trends in performance, production, and collect notes on players in the New York Rangers organization.

Note: stats in this piece are accurate as of 12/19/2019.


New York Rangers

  • Artemiy Panarin just keeps scoring. The Russian winger now has goals in five consecutive games, including a hat trick against the Sharks on Dec. 12, and is the first Ranger to bury 20 goals this season. He also leads the Rangers with 11 goals scored during 5-on-5 play.
  • Czech youngster Filip Chytil has one point — an assist — in his last nine games. He leads the Blueshirts with a +11.0 Rel xGF% (score and venue adjusted) and a +6.67 Rel CF%. Chytil has eight goals and three assists in 24 games this season. Despite the fact that he hasn’t scored a goal in the month of December, he is only three goals away from matching his goal production from the 2018-19 season.
  • After going through a stretch of picking up points in five out of six games between Nov. 29 and Dec. 8, Jacob Trouba has failed to earn a point in four consecutive games. The former Winnipeg Jet has 17 points in 33 games and is averaging 22:53 TOI/GP, which matches his average ice time — to the second — that he played last year in Winnipeg.
  • The only goalie in the NHL who has faced more high-danger shots per 60 minutes (HD SA/60) than Henrik Lundqvist among goalies who have played over 300 minutes of 5-on-5 hockey is Chicago’s Corey Crawford. In his last two starts, Lundqvist had a combined .925 Sv% — to earn back-to-back losses against the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks.
  • Rookies Adam Fox (6.56) and Kaapo Kakko (5.99) rank 4th and 8th, respectively, among rookie skaters who have played at least 10 minutes on the man advantage in power play points per 60 minutes (PP P/60). Kakko and Fox are 4th and 5th, respectively, in power play scoring among rookies this year.

Hartford Wolf Pack

  • Even after allowing eight goals on 42 shots in the Wolf Pack’s recent two-game series against the Charlotte Checkers, Igor Shesterkin still has a .926 Sv% and a record of 11-4-3. Dec. 17 marked the first time this year that Shesterkin was chased from his crease.
  • Vitaly Kravtsov picked up a primary assist in his first game back with the Wolf Pack since his return from Chelyabinsk and the KHL. He now has two assists — both primary — in seven games in Hartford this season.
  • In his first eight games of AHL hockey, Russian defenseman Yegor Rykov has earned three assists and has put five shots on goal. Two of his three helpers have been secondary. Last season, in the KHL, Rykov had three goals and six assists in 47 games for HK Sochi.
  • Rookie defenseman Joey Keane had a two-assist game against the Checkers on Dec. 17. He now has nine points — all assists — in his last 11 games for a total of six goals and 15 assists in 29 games.

Other Rangers Prospects

  • Finnish prospect Lauri Pajuniemi (132nd overall, 2018 Draft) now has 18 goals and eight assists in 28 games in Liiga with TPS. Pajuniemi has points in four straight games and buried three goals against Yukuri on Dec. 18 to earn his first hat trick of the 2019-20 season. Thanks to that hatty, he is now second in Liiga in goals. It’s also worth noting that his 13.3 Sh% is the second-lowest percentage among the Finnish league’s top-five goal-scorers. Last season, in 44 games with TPS, Pajuniemi had four goals.
  • Leevi Aaltonen (130th overall, 2019 Draft) is averaging 10:40 TOI/GP for KalPa and has not recorded a point in 14 consecutive games. Aaltonen, 18, has two assists in 22 games in his rookie Liiga season.
  • Defenseman Tarmo Reunanen (98th overall, 2016 Draft), 21, has two goals and five assists in 22 games with Lukko. Last season, Reunanen had 25 points in 58 games with Lukko. He’s averaging 21:20 TOI/GP and is second on the team with 90 SOG. His 2.2 Sh% is definitely dragging his production down, but he is unlikely to see much time on the power play with Winnipeg Jets prospect Ville Heinola on the roster.
  • Defenseman Hunter Skinner (112th overall, 2019 Draft) has gone six games without registering a point for the London Knights. Skinner has 22 points in 30 GP this year and is third among Knights’ d-men in scoring. He had two goals in his first game of OHL hockey but hasn’t scored a goal since Oct. 27.

All data courtesy of naturalstattracker.com, ahltracker.com, theahl.com, liiga.fi, ontariohockeyleague.com, and evolving-hockey.com.