It is that wonderful time of the year when kids get dragged to shopping malls (or the Macy’s in Herald’s Square if you live in the city) by their parents to sit on the uncomfortably warm lap of a large stranger in a red suit and to then tell said stranger what they want for Christmas.
Except all the malls are closed and no one wants to be within 30ft of each other.
Well, at least there’s hock...oh...uh...hmm...
Ok, fuck it. We’re gonna try and get some damn holiday cheer around here. It is Christmas and there is nothing really going on while the world tries to ride yet another COVID wave. Instead of talking about how bleak and depressing that is, let’s try to have some fun. While the actual New York Rangers are stuck at home, we here at Blueshirt Banter decided to make their Christmas list for them to send off to Santa. The idea is simple; each writer will have one item that they feel the Rangers can use and will ask Santa for it.
Kevin: Another Top Six Right Winger
The Rangers are currently 18-6-3. 3rd in the Metropolitan Division, and 4th in the entire Eastern Conference. If you told every Rangers fan at the beginning of the season that the team was heading into the new year with those numbers, they would be ecstatic and probably a little confused. While the Rangers have weathered injury and COVID scares early in the season, the offense on the whole has a +9 goal differential, good for just 15th in the league as of this writing. Looking deeper under the hood, the Blueshirts’ 45.61 CF% sits 31st in the league at 5 on 5 and adjusted for score and venue, the 46.65 xGF% is 27th as well (all data courtesy of the fine folks at Natural Stat Trick). While it will not solve all of the issues, getting a bona fide upgrade to the right side of the top six/top nine can go a long way to curing what ails the team. Dryden Hunt and Julien Gauthier can only take this team so far and if Santa can find it in that big ol’ bag of his to find a top six scoring winger for the Rangers, I’m sure head coach Gerard Gallant will be very appreciative.
Roberto: A Promotion for Zac Jones
Zac Jones has been a force to be reckoned with in every level of hockey he’s played. It only took two years for him to help the UMASS Minutemen win the Frozen Four, and Jones needed even less time to adjust to the pace of professional hockey. While the young defenseman didn’t score until his twelfth Wolf Pack game, he has since scored in three straight. With fifteen points in twenty games, Jones is starting to dominate while playing at the AHL level, and the timing couldn’t be better.
What a goal, Zac Jones, what a goal pic.twitter.com/59xijLOAn7— Hartford Wolf Pack (@WolfPackAHL) November 27, 2021
The Rangers’ third defensive pairing has at times been dreadful this season. With the team’s woes of scoring 5v5 aside, this may be one of the biggest weaknesses the roster currently has. The rotation of Tinordi and Hajek has quickly proven to mostly lead to disaster. Adding Jones to the mix could easily upgrade that pairing regardless of if you keep him on his natural left side. He projects to be an effective NHL player and currently deserves to play in the NHL. So, what do I want under my Christmas Tree this year? A promotion to the NHL for one of the Rangers’ top defensive prospects, Zac Jones.
Tom: Top-Six Scoring Help
I agree with Kevin’s assertion regarding a top-six wing, and recently I’ve written about Claude Giroux and Timo Meier as potential names of interest. But I am not opposed to that top-six scoring help potentially coming in the form of a center, one who could potentially replace Ryan Strome for the foreseeable future. This season Strome has a 0.50 G/60, and an ixG/60 of 0.54 at 5v5 per Evolving-Hockey. He’s averaging 9.39 shot attempts per 60, which is down from his rate of 11.74 last year. He has picked up more assists, which is a little strange considering he plays with an elite playmaker like Artemiy Panarin. The Rangers need goals, and players who can take charge at 5v5, and finding someone to do that should be a top priority. If they kept Strome it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but there’s room for improvement at least when it comes to goals at 5v5.
Mike: Super Soldier Serum
Hear me out. What the Rangers need for Chrimbus is to bring in Stanley Tucci to develop the Captain America Super Soldier Serum and give it to all Fil Chytil and Alexis Lafrenière and, hell, Nils Lundkvist while we’re at it. Look, I adore Chytil, but if he wore all black, painted his nails, and a spiked collar you’d think he was a 14-year-old goth. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that — because there’s not — but I’m tired of people giving the kids grief for being kids. So let’s just put them in that iron lung thing they put Chris Evans in to get them absolutely shredded.
I think I just argued for giving the baby Rangers PEDs. Fuck it, let’s just go with that. Just call it cutting-edge sports science or something. Or, you know, consider the fact that this organization is awful at developing its own talent and to give these kids some time to hit their stride. Get to work, Claus.
Oh, also, please Santa give us the gift of trading away Patrik Nemeth. He has become my Nemethith. I have no idea why he or Ryan Reaves were given more than one-year deals. It boggles the mind.
Happy Holidays everyone.