When looking at the standings and the New York Rangers’ 31-34-13 record, there isn’t a lot to be encouraged about. But in a lost season, a number of players took strides and set career highs. So, let’s take a look at some of the players that have already hit career highs or are on pace to in the remaining games of the 2018-19 season.
Mika Zibanejad: In 78 games this season, Zibanejad has scored 30 goals and added 42 assists for a total of 72 points — each of which are a career best for him, surpassing his previous highs of 27 goals (2017-18), 30 assists (2015-16), and 51 points (2015-16). He also beat two personal bests that were set last season in power play points (23, two ahead of last year) and shots (226, 14 ahead last season). He’s also the leading goal scorer on the Rangers for the second consecutive season.
Not only are these numbers milestones for him, but for the team as a whole. Zibanjead’s the first Ranger to hit the 70-point mark since Marian Gaborik in 2011-12 (76 points) and first to score 30 goals since Rick Nash’s 42 in 2014-15. This scoring was even more of a milestone as a center; he’s the first center to reach the 70-point mark since Scott Gomez (70 points in 81 games) in 2007-08, and first to score 30 goals since Eric Lindros (37 goals) in 2001-02.
Zibanejad’s also averaged the highest ice time of his career, 20:31, which is a steep increase from his high set last year of 17:57. Even when considering how much he played, he still scored at the highest rate of his career of 2.7 points per 60.
At 5-on-5, he also set a career high in assists (24), points (38), and scoring rate (2.03 per 60)
Chris Kreider: After missing a few games, Kreider is likely to either fall short or just match his career high in assists and points. However, he may match, or even surpass, his career high in goal scoring of 28 as he’s one short of matching with four games remaining. Additionally, Kreider’s already exceeded his high of 186 in shot on goal with 190 through 74 games, and he’s averaging the highest ice time of his career of 17:26.
At 5-on-5, Kreider has already matched his career high of 36 points in the same number of games. He’s one goal short of matching his best of 19. His 2.11 per 60 scoring rate surpasses his previous high of 2.08 per 60.
Pavel Buchnevich: Buchnevich is more than likely to fall short of his career-high 43 points in 74 games, as he’s on pace for 39 points in 65 games after missing 17 this season. He has already reached a career high of 20 goals, which is six ahead of last season, and his seven power play goals exceeds his five from last season. When weighing all situation ice time (which he’s averaging the same 15:00 as last season), he’s scoring at a rate of 2.42 per 60 which is .10 ahead of his career-high from last year.
Jimmy Vesey: Vesey’s hit a number of career highs this season. He’s matched his 17 goals from last year in two fewer games, tallied seven more assists, and added seven more points through 77 games. Those points have been scored at the highest rate of his three-year NHL career (1.69 points per 60), as have his assists (.87 per 60). He’s also gotten the puck on net 12 more times than his previous high with four games to go, and skated more than years past with 16:06 minutes on average.
Ryan Strome: Now with 18 goals on the season in 77 games between Edmonton and New York, Strome’s surpassed his best of 17 goals from 2014-15 that were scored in 81 games with the Islanders. His seven power play points this season are one shy of his best of eight; with four games remaining, he could match or exceed that.
Brady Skjei: Skjei is far off from his career best of 39 points scored in his rookie season, but has reached a high in goal scoring with seven, two ahead of his previous best of five. Another career high for Skjei is his average ice time, both in all situations (21:12 which is nine seconds ahead of last year) and at 5-on-5 (17:51, a 20 second increase).
Skjei’s also set highs in takeaways and hits, and with at least six blocks over the next four games, could match or surpass his best there as well.
Tony DeAngelo: DeAngelo’s hit career-highs across the board this season. With the Rangers this season, he’s played the most NHL games of his career of 58; before this year, he had just 39 games in 2016-17 leading the way. In those games, he’s also 2:10 ahead of his career best in average ice time with 19:15.
With four goals thus far he’s one short of his career high in goals, but there’s four games for him to try and match or exceed it. Otherwise, he’s taken strides and reached new heights with 25 assists (16 more than his previous best) and 29 points (surpassing his previous record by 15) — both of which have been scored at the highest rates of his NHL tenure. DeAngelo’s also collected the most penalty minutes of his career with 60.
All sophomores and rookies were excluded, all data via NaturalStatTrick