Alexis Lafreniere signs a two year extension to remain with the Rangers
Alexis Lafreniere signs a two year extension to remain with the Rangers

Ranger Report Card

Extreme Views – RangerExtreme

Here is the NYR report card for the first 59 games this season each player has been given a grade ranging from A-F. Basically grades are given on performance relative to a player fulfilling his given role. With a grade of a C being a passing acceptable grade.

Eric Lindros, Center – Grade: A+
It’s pretty obvious at this point of the season that as Eric Lindros goes so do the Rangers. He has been dominating at times and you can really imagine how much more dominating Lindros would be hadn’t he suffered seven concussions in his career. He is the only Ranger who has produced both at even strength and on the Powerplay. His 9 PP goals leads the Rangers. 

Lindros for the first 30 games was the best hitting forward in the Rangers lineup and was really hitting a groove before his concussion suffered in the San Jose game. The only part of Eric’s game that hasn’t come as advertised is his face-offs, but that’s nit picking considering to what he apparently means to this team success. Unbelievably Lindros has only missed a total of 8 games this season. 

Unfortunately for Ranger fans and the team it took Eric just a bit more then a half Dozen games to re-find his game after suffering his last concussion. He has been the best Ranger forward when completely healthy which would be my account about 43 out of the 51 games he has actually suited up for. This is once again factoring in the post San Jose concussion drought that took about 8 games to recover from.

Theo Fleury, Left Wing – Grade: A+
I wouldn’t be telling any tales out of school when I say that Theo Fleury has completely lost his mind. But lucky for us Ranger fans Theo hasn’t lost his scoring touch or ability to entertain us each and every night he laces them up. On most nights Fleury plays with an intensity that about 15 of his teammates should sit and up and take notice of. The only bad part of his game so far this year is the insane amount of minor penalties he has accumulated and often at bad times. 

Theo already has amassed 42 minor Penalties (first among Forwards) and is sixth overall in PIMS in the whole entire NHL. Remove the ludicrous amount of minors not many Left Wingers are going to end up putting up better numbers other then Theo besides Markus Naslund, Brendan Shanahan or Keith Tkachuk, He leads the Rangers in both total points and shots on goal. The good definitely outweighs the bad in Theo’s case.

Mike York, Right Wing – Grade : A+
Mike York has played extremely well through the first 59 games and really excelled for the first 40. His offensive production has slowed down a tad since the midway point but York has come to play both offense on defense for the Rangers each and every night. York’s improvement is a sigh of relief and even A surprise to some Ranger fans (not RE) who lost faith in Mike after his disappointing sophomore campaign. Playing alongside Theo Fleury and Eric Lindros has a lot to do with his success this year. To York’s credit He has responded and complimented them nicely and has shown so far he doesn’t belong buried on 3rd or 4th line.

Mike Richter, Goaltender – Grade : A+
Absolutely splendid. Coming off knee surgery he has been nothing short of spectacular. He has been left completely naked nightly between the pipes. Subjected to a Ranger defense that has looked like the Keystone Cops in about 90% of their contests. The 40 Shot games, the 20 shot periods. Forget Lindros, this is the Rangers MVP through the first 58 games.

Dan Blackburn, Goaltender – Grade : A
Played superb in his first dozen games but his level of play has waned recently. Showed some incredible poise stepping in at the age of 18 and getting off to the start he did. Glen Sather should thank his luck stars this kid bailed him out of what could have been a backup goaltending nightmare. For his kid his age to be thrown to the wolves like he has been and have come up big says an awful lot about his play so far. He has been everything a backup goalie should be.

Vladamir Malakhov, Defenseman – Grade: A
His season up to this point has been a pleasant success story. Although he benefits greatly from playing with Brian Leetch he has managed to stay healthy and play very well. He has been both steady and reliable and leads the Ranger team in +/- with a +16 rating. However Vladdy like every other Ranger except for maybe Lindros needs to contribute more to the team in man advantage situations. But overall there is really nothing to knock about the guy’s play this year so far. Not to bad for a guy who Ranger fans such as myself referred to as “Maladog’ before the start of the season

Brian Leetch, Defenseman – Grade: B+
Leetch has played in every game this season and is second only on the team in Plus/Minus to his defensive partner Vladamir Malakhov who is +16. Leetch as always logs his lions share of ice time but this year for the first time in his career the overwork is beginning to deter his game somewhat. Unbelievably Brian went over 20 games without scoring a goal during one stretch this season and hasn’t been nearly the Powerplay force he has to be in order for the Rangers to succeed at a higher level. There’s no arguing that Leetch carries his weight and then some for the Blueshirts but the ice time demands that the Rangers coaching staff has been heaping on him have resulted in some downsides in his game up to this point.

Andreas Johansson, Left Wing – Grade: B+
Before his wrist injury Andreas’s contribution to the Rangers was just about as big as a surprise as Dan Blackburn’s was this season. Johansson’s 13 goals from the left side in 48 games are for a player who has seen most of his action on the second and third lines is very good. He has helped the Rangers with consistent effort and tenacious play that has opposing players taking penalties. Even more impressive is the fact that Johansson wasn’t even in the NHL last year before Sather picked him up in the off-season. Sather’s acquisition of Andreas proves that even a blind squirrel can find nuts sometime

Sylvain Lefebvre, Defenseman – Grade :B
His 25 games have been vintage Lefebvre. Go unnoticed and do your job as a defensive defenseman. His steadiness and reliability has helped his partner Brian Berard’s game tremendously. Sather and Low did everything they could do to make Lefebvre not part of this team by trying to trade him before the season started. Now it turns out he is one of the steadier parts of their defensive corps.

Matthew Barnaby, Right Wing/Left Wing – Grade: C+
Barnaby arrived just about midseason to the Rangers courtesy of the shipping off of former resident waste of space Zdeno Ciger. The acquisition of Barnaby had me puzzled at the time and I think it still has me puzzled now. My main beef with this acquisition is with the Rangers taking more minors then there are minutes in most games why did Slats decide to pile on more PIMS rather then get some bargain basement PP specialist like Kip Miller? But that not withstanding Barnaby has contributed to the Rangers 10 fold what Zdeno Ciger did and would have had his tenure continued as a Blueshirt. 

Barnaby is a hard player to like, but his effort is there night in and night out and that’s all that counts. He not pretty, and downright ugly sometimes but he performs his role well. . Barnaby has responding game after game with heart and effort something his teammates should take note of. Ranger coach Ron Low however has miscast him (there’s a shocker) because Matthew certainly doesn’t belong on the Rangers first two lines.

Sandy McCarthy, Right Wing – Grade: C
If I had written this bout a dozen games ago I would have given Sandy McCarthy a D or an F but before Ron Low decided to cut back his playing time after the All-Star break a move which has me perplexed. Sandy was playing some of his best hockey of his career. McCarthy at times can be a physical force and very much akin to a Chris Simon type of player. Sandy’s main obstacle is keeping his play consistent. As far as the fisticuffs end of Sandy’s needs to drop the conversation with opposing players and drop the mitts with them a tad more often.

Brian Berard, Defenseman – Grade: C
Coming into the season he was a question mark and really after 58 games he still remains one. His play has been inconsistent but has shored up a bit in the last 20 games since being paired up with Sylvain Lefebvre. Having Lefebvre as his defensive partner has calmed his tendency to run around in his own zone. earlier In the year he was teamed up with the “Russian Stink Bomb” Igor Ulanov and looked positively abysmal at times. On the Positive end he does show the ability to rush the puck up the ice and create things.

Tomas Kloucek, Defenseman – Grade : C
Tomas started off the season strong but then fell in disfavor with the Ranger coaching staff for what they Labeled as “bad penalties”. He’s aggressive and delivers bone-rattling bodychecks that’s his game. I think the Ranger coaching staff should try devise a decent Penalty Killing system rather then tinkering with Kloucek’s game or psyche. There is a reason everybody team in the league wants this kid. He is a young Solid two-way player who hits. He recently has begun to play his game again which is a type the Rangers need desperately back on the blueline.

Mikael Samuelsson, Left Wing – Grade: C
Samuelsson has showed some poise for a rookie. He hasn’t made many glaring mistakes or been a liability on the ice for a player who is green to the NHL game. He is a defense first forward and has seen more time on the Penalty Kill as the season has progressed. For a Rookie he’s done an admirable job. His Offense is seems to be his Achilles heel so far in his young career. He doesn’t seem to be gifted with hands or playmaking skills yet and maybe never will. He however at 6’2 could develop into a nice checking forward on the Left side. He even shows flares of a mean streak when push comes to shove.

Radek Dvorak, Right Wing – Grade: C-
The good news is Radek is getting his share of chances. The bad news is they don’t find the back of the net very often. He is second on the Rangers in shots on goal with 185 but only has measly 14 goals to show for it. Even his intensity on the other end of the ice has dropped a bit. His commitment to defense has not been there on most nights. Although I don’t put much credence in +/- in most cases I do with Dvorak. He is the only Ranger forward other then Sandy McCarthy who has been playing regular since the beginning of the season who is a minus. Dvorak is a minus 8 on a team, which predominantly scores all their goals on the PowerPlay.

Jeff Toms, Center/Wing – Grade: C-
AKA “The Enigma”. Just when I wanna rip my hair out over why this guy is in the NHL he will do something positive. He has 7 goals this season. And three of them he recorded in one game. I’m not too thrilled with a non-physical 6’5 Offensive minded forward. Unless he’s Eric Daze. Which Toms is definitively not. I’m not sure he would be on a NHL roster if Ron Low weren’t so obsessed with him. But even lately Low has made Toms a healthy scratch.

Dale Purinton, Defenseman – Grade: C-
You know what folks? Take away some inopportune penalties and undisciplined violence Dale is a whole lot steadier on the backline then Karpa or Ulanov. OK so that not saying much, but when Purinton actually gets to play he covers his man and clears the net. This is what a 5th or 6th defenseman is supposed to do. Dale’s destiny lies within himself. In order to stay in the NHL Purinton has got to find a happy medium between quenching his thirst for the oppositions blood and impressing his coaches with steady smart defensive play. In other words he needs to learn to pick his spots for his skullduggery and concentrate on his “game” more.

Richard Scott, Left Wing – Grade: C-
In his 5 game call up with the Rangers he showed he could fight and not be a liabilty on the ice. These are two traits Steve Mckenna hasn’t mastered in his 41 games that he has suited up yet this season. I would much rather see Scott patrolling the 4th line LW position then Mckenna. But Scott’s one goal in 30 games in Hartford can’t be helping his cause to get back to the big club.

Petr Nedved, Center – Grade: D
Petr Nedved has played 55 games this year and guys named Matt Cullen, Todd White and Daniel Briere have more points. He is frankly downright frustrating to watch he simply doesn’t convert on his scoring chances. He had a stretch where he went almost a dozen games with recording only one assist. If he is not going to be a playmaking non-entity at center why didn’t Ron Low switch him to wing to play with Dvorak and let Messier center that line? Now that Messier appears to be out for the season all hope of that scenario is dead and buried. Nedved is a natural LW but Ron Low refused to use this an option to get any semblance of a productive second line going. Nedved is simply not pulling his weight at Center this year. No excuses on this one he have been very sub par.

Mark Messier, Center – Grade: D
It was almost inevitable that Mark would have an injury prone season after going the whole entire 2000-2001 NHL campaign without missing a game. At 41 the mind is willing but the body isn’t. It now appears Mark will be out the rest of the season and frankly after the way Mark played this year his on-ice presence won’t be missed that much. Mark’s play last year is just what the Rangers needed THIS year. This season Messier simply didn’t provide the powerplay production in the 41 games needed for the Rangers to win consistently. I’m not blaming the entire Powerplay futility on Mark but his role was to be a third line center and log some quality PP time. Two PP goals in 41 games simply isn’t cutting it. At 5 ½ million per year this was a wasted season for Mark and it looks like it might be for the Rangers as well.

Manny Malhotra, Center/Wing – Grade: D
This was the year for Manny to show if he had or has any promise or if he is just another name to be logged in the ever-growing ledger of Ranger first round busts. It’s official folks Manny is a bust. Other then his 2-goal performance against the Islanders in a losing effort he has shown nothing of what it seems he is capable of doing. He needs to hit and to be involved. It was imperative this season for Malhotra to solidify a position on the second line. He can’t even solidify a spot on the 4th line on most nights. Manny needed to start the season ready to come out flying, he didn’t. He has been playing a bit better lately but basically it’s little way too late.

David Karpa, Defenseman – Grade: D
Has worst plus/minus of any Ranger defenseman with a -8. Other then blocking shots his game is poor. He is Probably the most non physical “physical defenseman” he was deemed to be when he was brought in here as basically the Rich Pilon replacement. I think most of us agree even if it were begrudgingly that Rich Pilon was a helluva lot better then this guy. He has become increasingly self destructive of late. Karpa has logged a lot of ice time this year and shows signs that he is now running out of what little gas he had left in his tank.

Steve Mckenna, Left Wing – Grade: D
Barely serviceable. Has a “bit” of trouble staying on his skates during fights. Haven’t seen one fight that Mckenna has been involved in where he doesn’t end up lying flat on his back staring up at the Arena’s ceiling. I do have to give him credit for his attitude. He takes on all comers no questions asked. I’d like to see Mckenna’s attitude transferred over to McCarthy.

Igor Ulanov, Defenseman – Grade: F
Just goes to show that even the great Ranger Extreme can be wrong occasionally. I predicted this guy would be a nice addition to the Rangers after the season he had last year in Edmonton. I was wrong. DEAD wrong. He has been god awful as a Ranger. The “Russian Stink Bomb” as I have now dubbed him has been as reliable as Mariah Carey since the Rangers acquired him. He’s slow and a costly giveaway machine. A mistake waiting to happen. Another Sather Free Agent gem.

Barett Heisten, Left Wing – Grade: F
Destined to be a career minor leaguer in a 30 team NHL. E’nuff said. Boggled the mind on why he was up with the big club with his no goals, no assists and a -4 +/- rating in his 10 game stint.

Rico Fata, Right Wing – Grade: F
Joker extraordinaire. Calgary seems to like him maybe they will hopefully reclaim this piece of lost luggage.

Jason Dawe, Right Wing – Grade: F
AHL nobody. Jason Duh ?

Peter Smrek, Defenseman – Grade: F
Eight games and a –7 plus/minus. He looked very green and very bad.

Michal Grosek, Left Wing – Grade: INCOMPLETE
Low doesn’t like his work ethic and thinks Michal needs an attitude adjustment. I think both of these twits should be on the first train out of here. Low long ago decided to bury Grosek in the minors even before the season started.

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