New York Rangers: The years change but the problem remains the same

New York Rangers. Coach David Quinn (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Rangers. Coach David Quinn (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

As we watch the New York Rangers year by year, the names change. Less frequently the coach changes. However, the problem remains constant.

As I sit to write this post, the New York Rangers have just fallen to the Penguins at the Garden by the score of 7-2. They sit with 41 points, on the outside looking in on the NHL playoffs.

That leaves more than half of the season left, but this is where we are, Rangers Nation.

In taking stock in this team as the new year begins, we know they are a team in transition. Many of the veterans are gone, though not all. Six members of the team are over 30 years old. That’s it. It’s a young team.

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Still, this is New York. A team can’t rebuild forever in this town.

The Rangers can’t rebuild forever. A playoff run needs to be in short order, but here they sit outside the playoffs.

If you really look at the team honestly, the problem is obvious. It’s a problem that has been there off and on for several years, no matter the name changes.

They can’t score. Certainly not with any sort of consistency.

The numbers don’t lie. The Rangers are ranked 24th in the league with 2.77 goals per game. The Lightning lead the league with a 4.13 goals per game average.

2.77 is never going to get it done. That puts too much pressure on the defense and Henrik Lundqvist to be perfect every night.

“The King” still leads us, but the man needs help. He isn’t going to be perfect in net every single night. He needs his team to score.

The leading goal scorer on the team is Chris Kreider with 20. That doesn’t sound so unreasonable when knowing that Alex Ovechkin leads with 29, but, look at who is next on the team and it becomes worse. Mika Zibanejad is second with 11 goals.

To win hockey games, a team needs someone that can put the puck in the back of the net with consistency. The concept doesn’t get much simpler than that. Goals are the key. It’s not football where defenses win championships.

It was the same issue under Alain Vigneault. Zibanejad led the team in goals with 27.The year before that it was Kreider with 28.

Is anyone else sensing a theme here? It’s pretty much there for all of us to see.

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Any Rangers fan will tell you that they want to get Henrik Lundqvist that elusive Stanley Cup before he hangs up his skates for good. Who among us wouldn’t feel a sense of pride seeing him skate that cup around the Garden ice?

They can’t do it if they can’t win hockey games consistently. To win consistently they need to find a player that can score. They need to score goals.

It really is simple.