Braden Schneider
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The rookie defenseman is our Rangers Player of the Week after an impressive debut.

The New York Rangers finally returned to play from the All-Star Break in Week 18 and they sure looked good. They lost one of three games, to the Detroit Red Wings, but were able to come away with a point and now have points in five-straight games.

We’ve gotten used to the Rangers’ top guys being their best players each week, but the rookie stole the show in Week 18.

Check out Week 16’s Player of the Week and honorable mentions here.

Player of the Week: RHD Braden Schneider

vs. BOS: 1 A
@ OTT: 1 A
Average Game Score: 1.37
Average defensive impact: 0.35

Schneider has been growing on fans since the Rangers traded up to draft him last year, but no one expected him to be as impactful as he has been in his brief time in the NHL.

He’s looked better and better by the game and that’s all led to the best week of his young career, Week 18. Schneider was the team’s best player this week, getting it done in both zones.

He was a top-five player for the Rangers twice, including their best player against the Ottawa Senators when he earned a Game Score of 2.53, his second-highest of the season (and his career).

Schneider played a strong defensive game each night and added two more assists to his already-impressive resume.

Schneider did many things well this week, but the most impressive of them all was the fact that he played so well with different defensive partners.

Against the Bruins and Red Wings, Schneider was one-half of an all-rookie defensive pair, playing alongside Zac Jones. Both rookies looked great and were the team’s best defensive pair in both games.

Jones was scratched against the Senators and Schneider found himself playing alongside veteran Patrik Nemeth, who’s been the team’s worst player this season and has missed the past few weeks.

Fans were dreading this, but Nemeth-Schneider ended up being the Rangers’ best pair of the game and each of them played quite well.

As we mentioned, Schneider was exceptional and even helped Nemeth do well. In fact, this too was Nemeth’s second-best game of the season.

Schneider has the ability to thrive in any and every situation and can succeed regardless of who he’s paired with. This is incredibly important and makes him even more valuable to the Rangers, especially with the third pairing so up in the air.

The rookie continues to impress everyone and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Honorable Mention #1: G Igor Shesterkin

2-0-1, 4 GA, .958 SV%
Average Game Score: 1.23

Honorable Mention #2: C Filip Chytil

vs. BOS: 1 G
Average Game Score: 0.72
Average defensive impact: 0.31

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.