With New Year’s Eve upon us, what better time to look back at the last calendar year and see what the New York Rangers have accomplished over the last 12 months of hockey.
Not including the playoffs, the New York Rangers season takes place between October and April, rolling from one year into another. There’s no 2017 season—it’s the 2017-18 season.
But it’d be interesting to look at the team and the numbers some of the players put up over a 12-month calendar period. For the purpose of this column, we’ll be looking at numbers from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017, only.
That calendar year was a pretty successful one for the Rangers. Blueshirt fans were able to celebrate 48 victories over the last 12 months—42 regular season wins and six more in the playoffs. Speaking of the playoffs, the 2016-17 season was the teams seventh straight year—and the 11th time in 12 seasons—that the Rangers advanced to the postseason.
While hockey is a team sport, some players put up strong numbers over the last year. Let’s look at a few of them.
Let’s start off with one of the fastest players on the ice, Michael Grabner. The 30-year-old from Villach, Austria had a great year with the Rangers. Arguably the team’s best penalty killer, Grabner has put up 40 regular-season points (30 goals, 10 assists) and was a plus-21 over the last year. Toss in four goals and two assists in the playoffs, and you’ve got a total of 48 points.
Chris Kreider had an outstanding year for the team as he scored 24 times with 22 assists for 46 points, adding three goals and an assist in the playoffs. Kreider has been on the top line with Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad for most of the season. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with a blood clot on Thursday and will be lost for six-to-eight weeks. The team will have trouble replacing his production.
The heartbeat of the New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello is not a pure goal scorer by any stretch of the imagination. He is, however, one of the top three passers in the NHL, evidenced by his 44 assists over the last 12 months. With 15 goals over that period, Zucc checks in with a strong 59-point performance—which jumps up to 65 points when you include his playoff performance (four goals, two assists).
While he hasn’t scored a regular-season goal since April 4, 2017, against Pittsburgh, the captain, Ryan McDonagh, had a consistent year. He scored four goals to go along with 35 assists and was a plus-22, adding seven playoff points (two goals, five assists). While there have been questions about his level of play at times, he has been very effective setting his teammates up to score goals and keeping the opposition off the scoresheet.
Then there’s the man who stands tall between the pipes on most nights, appearing in 31 out of 36 games this season, Henrik Lundqvist. In the last calendar year, Hank has played in an astounding 62 games, recording a record of 32-21-6 to go along with a 2.78 GAA, .914 save percentage and 1,794 total saves. The saying “the Rangers go as Hank goes” is proven with these numbers.
The Rangers season is long, and the numbers don’t tell the whole story. The team ended the regular season last year with 48 wins, which was good enough for fourth place in the Metropolitan Division. They were knocked out of the playoffs by the Ottawa Senators in the second round.
The calendar year stats give a fan the idea of how long an NHL season really is. The fans hope the next calendar year will maybe have a Stanley Cup Championship sitting right in the middle of it.