The New York Rangers need to find more scoring this season and their power play may be the perfect way to do it.
The New York Rangers need to find a way to get the puck in the back of the net more often. The Blueshirts were ranked 22nd in scoring last season with 228 regular season goals scored. They have to find a way to get more goals as a way to help the defense not feel the pressure on a nightly basis as they did last season.
The power play needs to be the unit that creates more scoring for the club. Ranked 14th last season at 21.2 percent efficiency, the team needs to improve on this number to aid a weak scoring offense. In comparison, the Pittsburgh Penguins lead the NHL in power-play efficiency, scoring 26.2 percent of the time with the man advantage.
As the season began last year, the power play looked good and had some early success. Center Mika Zibanejad lead the team with 14 power-play goals and 21 power-play points. Forward Pavel Buchnevich had 12 power-play assists with 17 man-advantage points in a season where he struggled to find consistent ice time.
On the blue line, Kevin Shattenkirk led all defenseman on the power play with two power-play goals and 12 power-play points. John Gilmour had one goal on the power-play and that was it for defensemen goal scoring. The power play is again the sore point of the team offense.
Improving the man advantage is always a hard thing to do. The team needs a person who can run the power play, preferably from the point position. Shattenkirk ran with that at the beginning of the season along with Zibanejad, but injuries stopped the success of the power play dead in its tracks and the team was never able to find that early success again.
Surprisingly one player never was able to add to the power, Brady Skjei. Zero goals and only six power-play points are not the output the organization was looking for. The player who has been often been compared to Brian Leetch has struggled mightily with the man advantage.
Skjei now has an opportunity to put his bad luck aside with the man advantage as the team should have different avenues to use to get some production.
With a healthy Shattenkirk, the Rangers should be able to have two solid five-man units to rotate. The team should go with a forward at the point with Shattenkirk and Skjei with another defenseman, John Gilmour, on the second unit.
Two power-play units that could work well:
John Gilmour-Brady Skjei
The Rangers needs to take advantage of these opportunities. Though they are a young, rebuilding club, the speed they have can create great scoring chances and many power-play opportunities along the way.
In order for the club to have any chance to make the playoffs next season, they are going to need to relay on man-advantage opportunities which means the team must get into the top ten in the power play rankings.
The top players on the team need to excel, especially when up a man. A rebuilding team yes, but they still have the personnel to take advantage of these opportunities. The Rangers can get the job is done which could contribute to a surprise run to the playoffs.