After watching the Rangers face the Islanders at the Garden, once again coming out flat, and giving up routine Grade A chances, I wanted to do a little more digging into how poor this team is.
46.46 CF% (30th in NHL)
46.92 FF% (28th in NHL)
47.25 SF% (29th in NHL)
422 High Danger Chances Allowed (4th in NHL)
It's clear that the team struggled in October, December and now January. They're currently in a wild card spot mostly because of the efforts of Lundqvist/Pavelec. Pavelec, to his credit, has also played outstanding games only to lose (the one where he stopped 44 of 45 immediately comes to mind).
Every Ranger fan will tell you that it is a problem with the coach. And I agree. His line choices aren't the best. In regards to his defensive core, however, I don't know what fans expect him to do. Kampfer, Staal, Holden and Shattenkirk are all awful defensively. Skjei isn't very good either. Therefore, it really does not matter who they are playing McDonagh with.
Did Gorton, in a way, handcuff his line choices? Is the roster actually that bad?
The team has no elite talent in their forward core. For example, the Rangers best forward would be Zuccarello who would be the Islanders 4th or 5th best forward. He is a complimentary piece, he can't be "the guy."
Can a roster with Hayes, Zuccarello, Zibenejad, Kreider, Miller, etc, effectively compete?
Also, what specifically are the Rangers doing wrong? Washington Capitals have a solid playoff position and have similar statistics to the Rangers in analytics. Holtby has done well, but statistically not as well as Lundqvist. Yet, their record is much better.
The Rangers were viewed as a "deep" team, but does being "deep" not matter in today's NHL if you do not have elite talent? When you remove the similar analytics from the picture, remove the fact they both have elite goaltenders, both have weak defensive cores, etc, the main difference I see is the high end elite talent the Capitals have (Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Backstrom) that the Rangers simply can't match. Would the Rangers be one elite center / winger away from being up there with the Capitals?