Skip to main content
NHL Insider

Rangers doomed by injuries to key players

Loss of Shattenkirk, Zibanejad for extended periods, 5-on-5 problems helped end New York's run of seven seasons in playoffs

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

The New York Rangers' streak of seven consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs will not continue.

The Rangers (33-35-8) were eliminated from playoff contention when the New Jersey Devils defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

Here is a look at what happened in the 2017-18 season for the Rangers and why things could be better next season:


The skinny

Potential UFAs: David Desharnais, C; Cody McLeod, LW; Paul Carey, LW; Ryan Sproul , D; Ondrej Pavelec, G

Potential RFAs: Ryan Spooner, C; Kevin Hayes, C; Vladislav Namestnikov, C; Jimmy Vesey, LW; Rob O'Gara , D; Brady Skjei, D; John Gilmour, D


What went wrong

5-on-5 issues: The Rangers are 27th in the NHL with a minus-27 goal differential in 5-on-5 scoring (143 goals for, 170 goals against). Only the Buffalo Sabres (minus-47), Ottawa Senators (minus-40), Vancouver Canucks (minus-35) and Arizona Coyotes (minus-33) are worse. New York is eighth on the power play (21.9 percent) and tied for sixth with the Toronto Maple Leafs on the penalty kill (82.5 percent), but its special teams' success has been negated by its problems in 5-on-5.

Video: WSH@NYR: Oshie beats Georgiev with nice wrist shot

Shattenkirk doesn't deliver: Kevin Shattenkirk signed a four-year, $26.6 million contract (average annual value $6.65 million) on July 1 and was supposed to be a top-pair defenseman. He struggled through the first half before revealing he injured his left knee during training camp and needed surgery, which he had Jan. 22. He has missed 30 games and will not return this season, limited to 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 46 games. The Rangers are 9-18-3 without him after going 24-17-5 with him.

Zibanejad's slump: Mika Zibanejad delivered early as the No. 1 center, scoring 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) through his first 24 games. However, a concussion sidelined him for nine games from Nov. 26-Dec. 16, and he wasn't the same when he returned. He had nine points (six goals, three assists) in 30 games from Dec. 19-Feb. 25. The Rangers went 9-18-2 and were sellers by the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline, trading defenseman Ryan McDonagh and Nick Holden, and forwards Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller.


Reasons for optimism

Key arrivals: Rookie defenseman Neal Pionk and rookie goaltender Alexandar Georgiev look like keepers. Since Feb. 11, Pionk leads New York defensemen with 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) and is second behind Brady Skjei in ice time per game (22:11). Georgiev, sent to Hartford of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, is 4-4-1 with a 3.15 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. Henrik Lundqvist is expected to return as the No. 1 goaltender, but Georgiev's progress means they might not have to search for his backup during the offseason.

Video: BUF@NYR: Georgiev turns away multiple scoring chances

Andersson and Chytil: The Rangers should continue to get a good look at rookie centers Lias Andersson, 19, and Filip Chytil, 18, their two first-round picks in the 2017 NHL Draft, for the remainder of the season. Andersson scored in his NHL debut, a 4-2 loss against the Washington Capitals on Monday. Chytil got his first NHL point Monday, an assist, in his third game and first since Oct. 7.

Assets galore: The Rangers have 10 picks in the 2018 NHL Draft, including three in the first round, two in the second and two in the third. They also acquired four relatively high-end prospects before the deadline, including 20-year-old Libor Hajek, arguably their top prospect at defenseman who could push for a roster spot next season.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.