LOS ANGELES -- Now that enough time has passed since the New York Rangers changed coaches, it's obvious some players have enjoyed more success playing for Alain Vigneault than they did for John Tortorella.
Ryan McDonagh blossomed into a No. 1 defenseman and a fringe Norris Trophy candidate. Chris Kreider became a regular up front and an important offensive weapon.
The player who might end up prospering the most from the change is defenseman Anton Stralman. Not only has Stralman been given more responsibility by the new coaching staff, he's become a key player for a Stanley Cup finalist because of his ability to play well in those situations.
"I think this is obviously his best year since he came to New York," Rangers forward Carl Hagelin said. "The coaches have a lot of confidence in him, and you can see how he's growing throughout the year. ... He's not going to be a flashy player but he's always finding ways to break the puck out pretty smoothly. He's a good skater. He's finding ways, even when the forecheck is hard on him. He will pivot off guys and find a way to break out.
"He's showed a lot of improvement over the year too. Maybe that's all it takes, is some more confidence and you can do the things you want to do on the ice and make the plays you know you can make. He's not a guy who gets too down on himself. He benefited from the change for sure."