Rangers Analysis: The Chris Higgins effect
With the "Chris Higgins goal watch" finally coming to a dramatic end Thursday night in Vancouver Ranger fans have shifted their attention to Higgins once more. Many people--me being one of them--hold the ideology that Higgins poor play was because of his lack of confidence, which in turn was because of his lack of goals, which is finally over.
Higgins has been one of the biggest eye openers--negatively--thus far this season. I hate to beat a dead horse but him only having one goal in 15 games needs to be addressed again here, especially since before the season started there were whispers that he was going to find himself on the first line.
I have called for secondary scoring on this blog for about a week now, and I think that Thursday night proved my point. The Canucks kept Marian Gaborik off the score sheet (and effectively out of the game) and the Rangers seemed to have no response. This is a problem, a problem.
No one is denying that there are not offensive disappointments right now for the Rangers. In fact when it comes to forwards aside from Gaborik, Ales Kotalik and Vaclav Prospal mostly every other forward isn't producing goals the way that we speculated.
Join me after the jump for more.
Let's take an in depth look at the forwards who aren't producing:
Ryan Callahan: I hate to put him on this list since he is doing everything else right, but this is an offensive numbers list so, to be honest, he belongs here. Callahan's 2 goals and 3 assists gives him 5 points in 16 games. Some people--I'm looking at you Jim--called him to have 30+ goals this year. Well he is currently on pace for 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 82 games. He needs to pick up his game and fast. The good news for Callahan is that he is playing well, he is just a little snake bitten. My prediction? Once he gets a few more goals he will heat up.
Chris Drury: Some of you have been defending Drury's lack of offensive numbers because he is seeing a lot less power play time. And while I agree that this will cause his numbers to drop his 2 goals and 4 assists leaves him on pace for 10 goals and 20 assists in 82 games. Unlike Callahan however Drury is not always doing the little things right, some games he is and others he isn't. Look the bottom line on Drury is that I can stomach him scoring 20 goals and putting up 50 points at the end of the season, but power play time or not him throwing up 40 points is unacceptable. Unfortunately he has a full no movement clause so there is literally nothing anyone can do till his contract runs out.
Brandon Dubinsky: Although Dubinsky has a respectable 3 goals and 7 assists in 16 games thus far, he only has two points in his last 8 games. To me Dubinsky needs to start scoring more goals, and its pretty safe to say that his game has been off a little recently. No major concern here I just truly expected Dubinsky to break the 20 goal plateau, and he very well might, but not at his current pace.
Michal Rozsival: I know that some of you don't expect any offense out of him (and after his start to this season who can blame you) but he needs to be more of an offensive force out there. It might surprise you to know that when he actually does shoot he can a cannon, and can actually be quite effective. To prove my point: he only has 11 shots so far this year, putting him on pace for 56 shots on the season. He has never had less that 104 shots as a New York Ranger. Yes, I am aware that he is not on the power play anymore but in this up-tempo system he should have more shots then what he currently has.
Christopher Higgins: We talked about this above so no need to go into any more detail. He needs to get back on his game, hopefully this goal helps.
Every one of those players was tabbed as a 20+ goal guy--except Rozsival who I was expecting about 10 goals out of. Currently the group of them have 8 goals on the season between them. That's not a good sign for a team who wants to do some damage in the playoffs. Especially since Higgins, Callahan, Dubinsky and Drury (maybe) were all tabbed as top 6 guys.
Maybe if Higgins gets his game back on track he can help his line-mates (hence the title of the post) but only time will tell. Here is to them finding their games again, for every ones sake.