It’s time for another installment of Blueshirt Banter’s Rangers Radar, where we put the spotlight on trends in performance and production and collect notes on players on the New York Rangers and the Hartford Wolf Pack, as well as Rangers prospects playing elsewhere.
New York Rangers
- Russian winger Pavel Buchnevich now has five points in his last seven games and 15 points in his last 21 games. Buchnevich is tied with Mika Zibanejad for the team lead in 5v5 shots (44) since Feb. 1. He also is the second-highest scoring forward on the team since the start of February, behind only Zibanejad.
Poor Buch... he had a chance to tie it and it got deflected. pic.twitter.com/BeG2pkMP00— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) March 20, 2019
- Defenseman Neal Pionk scored his first goal in 30 games in the Rangers 5-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on March 16. Pionk now has two primary points (all strengths) since Feb. 1. His six goals and 17 assists this season are good for third in scoring among the Rangers’ blueliners.
- Kevin Shattenkirk’s primary assist on Ryan Strome’s power play goal against the Detroit Red Wings on March 19 (his 600th NHL game) was his first power play point in 14 games. In 64 games with the Rangers this season Shattenkirk has as many power play points (seven) as he had in the 19 regular season games he played with the Washington Capitals in 2017.
- Brendan Smith’s late goal against Detroit on Tuesday night was his first point in 15 games. Smith has two points in his last 24 games. The best single-season performance of his NHL career came in 2013-14 when he scored five goals and picked up 14 assists.
Hartford Wolf Pack
- Defenseman John Gilmour (198th overall, 2013 Draft) picked up two primary assists in the Wolf Pack’s 3-2 loss against the Syracuse Crunch on March 15. It was Gilmour’s 10th multi-point performance of the 2018-19 season. The left-handed defender was called up to the Rangers on Monday.
- On March 16, Hartford’s offense was able to chase former Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec from his crease after scoring three goals on eight shots. The Wolf Pack scored two more goals against the Utica Comets to win by a final score of 5-3. It was Hartford’s first five-goal game since Jan. 18, 2018.
- Before being called up by the Rangers on March 18, Vinni Lettieri was riding a five-game point streak in Hartford in which he had scored nine points. Lettieri, 24, has 46 points in 44 games with the Wolf Pack. The 13:02 he skated against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night was the most ice time he’s seen in 19 appearances with the Rangers in the 2018-19 season.
- Finnish forward Ville Meskanen scored a goal and notched an assist in Hartford’s 5-3 win over Utica. The goal was Meskanen’s first in 13 games and the assist was his first in nine games. Last Saturday’s game was also the first time that Meskanen had a multi-point game since Dec. 30, 2018.
WOLF PACK GOAL Meskanen tallies his 11th of the season and increases our lead to 4-1! #UTIvsHFD— Hartford Wolf Pack (@WolfPackAHL) March 17, 2019
- Winger Ryan Gropp (41st overall, 2015 Draft) had his second two-goal game of the season against Utica. He now has eight points — including five goals — in his last seven games. Before this recent burst of production, Gropp had three goals in 41 games between Oct. 17, 2018 and March 1, 2019.
- Chris Drury, the general manager of the Wolf Pack and the assistant general manager of the Rangers, will be the GM of Team USA for the upcoming World Championship. The 2019 IIHF World Championship begins on May 10 in Slovakia.
Other Rangers Prospects
- If you haven’t checked out the Vitali Kravtsov’s (9th overall, 2018 Draft) 2018-19 highlight reel that Blueshirt Banter’s Alex Nunn put together, you’re missing out. Also, make sure to read Tom Urtz Jr’s recent piece on Kravtsov.
Vitaly Kravtsov | 74 | 2018-19 Highlights #NYR https://t.co/Hga1dRaQxa— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) March 17, 2019
- According to a report from Aftonbladet, Rangers prospect Patrik Virta (207th overall, 2017 Draft) is coming to North America for the 2019-20 season. Virta had 15 points in 37 games this season for Örebro HK (SHL) after leaving the KHL. He scored a goal for Örebro in his first career SHL playoff game on March 16.
- Winger Lauri Pajuniemi (132nd overall, 2018 Draft) and TPS will play their first game of the 2019 Liiga Playoffs today against HPK. Pajuniemi enters the playoffs with a nine-game scoring drought that dates back to Feb. 13. He had one assist in four games against HPK in their regular season series.
- Prospect Jake Elmer, who signed with the Rangers on March 15, had 45 primary points at 5v5 this year with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He is sixth in the WHL in goals scored at 5v5 (26) this year and has 19 goals (all strengths) in his last 17 games.
Yeah, Jake Elmer (expected NYR UFA signing) got lots of points this season with Dylan Cozens, but it doesn't look like Elmer's scoring was an Anson Carter/Sedins situation by any means. pic.twitter.com/RRODutODoi— Evan Oppenheimer (@OppenheimerEvan) March 15, 2019
NYR prospect Jake Elmer has 19 goals in his last 17 games with @WHLHurricanes. In that window, Elmer has averaged 5.17 SOG/GP. This impressive run started after Elmer went through an 8-game goal-scoring drought between Jan. 18 and Feb. 5 in which he averaged 3.0 SOG/GP.— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) March 20, 2019
- Cornell center Morgan Barron (174th overall, 2017 Draft) picked up two assists and registered 10 shots on goal in the ECAC Hockey Championship Quarterfinals against Union College. The Big Red are 15-5-2 this year when Barron picks up a point.
- Defenseman Tarmo Reunanen (98th overall, 2016 Draft) has three points in his first two career playoff games in Liiga. Reunanen, 21, had 25 points in 58 regular season games with Lukko. Thus far in the playoffs, he’s averaging 19:54 TOI/GP.
Tarmo Reunanen unloads from the blueline. Eetu Laurikainen coughs up a juicy rebound and Janne Keränen finishes things off. Reunanen's first career playoff point in Liiga. #NYR pic.twitter.com/XQ5PW0UzC2— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) March 16, 2019
Data courtesy of naturalstattrick.com, prospect-stats.com, theahl.com, hockeyeastonline.com, shl.se, whl.ca, liiga.fi, and nhl.com.