The New York Rangers’ bottom six was revamped on July 1st, and these small changes have the potential to brighten the Blueshirt’s future.
Aside from a few signings, the New York Rangers have been relatively quiet ever since free agency opened on July 1st.
But don’t be fooled Blueshirt fans, because Rangers’ General Manager Jeff Gorton’s seemingly small changes could positively impact the Blueshirt’s roster next season.
The additions of Nathan Gerbe and and Michael Grabner were a suitable starting point, as Gorton had a clear goal of addressing the bottom six.
These moves were not only warranted, but also proper redemption following Eric Staal trade deadline signing. Gorton apparently thought Staal would be his knight and shining armor, but to no avail.
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Most of the New York Rangers’ fan base saw the writing on the wall before Gorton.
Grabner is one of the fastest players in the League and has a serious shot to be a potential threat this season on the PK, and the same goes for Gerbe.
Take a look at this interesting stat about Grabner:
New #NYR @grabs40 is tied for 4th in the #NHL in SHG since the 2010-11 season (12)
For more stats & info visit: https://t.co/tTFOEM2htx
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 1, 2016
This will be an obvious upgrade for the penalty kill this coming season.
Grabner had 9 goals and 18 points in 80 games last season. His Corsi For was 49.1% and he started in the defensive zone 61% of the time, which demonstrates his reliability.
Rick Carpiniello tweeted this about Gerbe following the signing.
Rangers also sign PK specialist Nathan Gerbe.
— Rangers Report (@rangersreport) July 1, 2016
While skating in 47 games last year, Gerbe tallied a modest seven points. In addition, he posted a 48.8 CF% and started in the defensive zone 53.3% of the time and in the offensive zone 46.7% of the time, again showing he’s trusted more in his own end.
These additions will be absolutely critical if Rangers are to have any hope of being a contender.
We all know by now that a strong defense will be essential moving forward.
Fans shouldn’t expect Gerbe or Grabner to score 20 or plus goals in 82 games this season. What you should be on the look out for are big face offs in the final minutes of a game, grit in the defensive zone, and strong fore checking.
The clock is ticking and the Rangers season is now one day closer. A few players need to be dealt, the defense needs to be addressed, and the team as a whole needs to come together.
But in the meantime, rest easy knowing that Gorton has started to address of Rangers roster that need the most work.
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