Think about for a second if the Rangers did not have Michael Grabner and his team-leading 17 targets proper now, which actually ought to and could be 18 if not for Kevin Hayes being offside Saturday night time on what maybe would’ve been Grabner’s most spectacular aim of the season.
Take into consideration if George McPhee and Co. had chosen the speed-demon Grabner over the summer season for the Vegas Golden Knights within the growth draft as an alternative of Oscar Lindberg.
Perhaps, although six of Grabner’s targets are of the empty-net selection, the Rangers (19-13-Four) wouldn’t be occupying a wild-card spot as they return from the NHL’s three-day Christmas moratorium Wednesday to host the Capitals (22-13-2.)
Vegas (23-9-2) has been among the finest tales of the NHL up to now, main the Western Convention in its inaugural season. The Sin Metropolis Sensations are scoring three.44 targets per recreation, tops within the West and third within the league.
In order that they’re doing simply high-quality with out Grabner’s scoring, however who is aware of, possibly they may very well be pushing the Lightning as probably the most prolific-scoring workforce within the NHL.
It is attention-grabbing to think about particularly when analyzing the season Lindberg has had. The middle appeared like a clever choice for Vegas on the time, with the then-25-year-old Swede coming off a powerful playoff run with the Rangers. It was thought Lindberg was able to ascend and would get no less than top-nine ice time.
However by 33 video games, Lindberg is averaging 12:50 of ice time per recreation, and simply 11:03 over his final seven video games. Earlier than scoring his seventh aim of the season on Saturday, Lindberg had only one level over his earlier 21 video games, and he is at present enjoying fourth-line wing.
Lindberg would’ve been a helpful participant for the Blueshirts as they’ve tried to piece their bottom-six middle scenario collectively alongside the best way, which included a shift of J.T. Miller to the center for a few month and a call-up of rookie Boo Nieves. David Desharnais has had his peaks and valleys and has performed sheltered minutes, however has been definitely worth the low threat with 18 factors in 33 video games on a one-year, $1 million contract.
They could’ve missed Grabner extra, although, if Vegas introduced him to the desert. Grabner’s tempo of .47 targets per recreation has him on monitor to interrupt his career-high of 34 targets set with the Islanders in 2010-11. The 30-year-old impending free agent, who’s on the second 12 months of an uber-team-friendly two-year, $three.three million contract, has 44 targets in 112 video games as a Ranger after scoring 45 targets in 223 video games from 2012-13 by 2015-16.
Grabner might very nicely be in for a regression. It did occur final season after he was the workforce’s main scorer for many of the means earlier than Chris Kreider in the end completed with 28 targets. Final season Grabner had 26 targets by 53 appearances however scored simply as soon as over his remaining 23 video games.
Both means, the Rangers should be glad he is nonetheless enjoying a starring position on Broadway as an alternative of the Strip.
Good begin Tuesday for the Rangers’ high prospects, Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, on the World Junior Championships in Buffalo. Andersson, the 19-year-old Swedish captain who was the No. 7 decide on this 12 months’s draft, scored twice in Sweden’s 6-1 win over Belarus. Chytil, the 18-year-old Czech whom the Rangers picked No. 21 general, had a aim and an help within the Czech Republic’s 5-Four victory in opposition to Russia.
Subsequent up? The 2 youngsters go toe-to-toe. Sweden vs. Czech Republic, Thursday, Four p.m.