Early Stock Watch for New York Rangers' Top Stars in 2013-14
It has not been an easy start for the New York Rangers.
Despite coming into the season with high expectations, they have stumbled out of the gate and are 2-5-0. They give up an average of 4.1 goals per game, which is 30th in the league, and only score a pitiful 1.6 goals per game.
It doesn't help that players like Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan have only played in a combined eight games (and thus, they won't be included in this stock watch).
How have the Rangers' top stars done so far in the 2013-14 season? What is the early stock watch for the top players?
Read on to find out.
It's been a rough few weeks for Henrik Lundqvist.
The normally stellar goalie has just not been himself this year. He's 2-4, with a 3.45 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage.
Outside of a shutout against the Washington Capitals, Lundqvist has not just looked on his game.
What's the reason? Elliotte Friedman of CBC asked the question:
I asked a few people who've seen New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist: "What do you see there? What's wrong?" There are two things mentioned. First, the team defence is not good, which can make any goalie look bad. The second is that he looks smaller. In September, Lundqvist said he felt faster in the new equipment. But a couple of guys pointed out that playing as deep as he does, there are more shooting holes than ever. When you've got time, you can find them.
It's true that the defense behind him is awful. But it is interesting about the smaller pads. Has he suffered due to the new rule?
Tough to say. All we know is that Lundqvist is letting in goals that he normally doesn't. He was pretty miserable Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils.
Given his pedigree, you have to think he'll turn it around. It's still early enough in the season. But time is ticking. If Lundqvist can't get it together, then the Rangers have no shot.
His stock is way down, obviously. I think it will improve as the season progresses. But it is reasonable to ask questions about his performance.
The one bright spot this season has been the play of Brad Richards.
After a disastrous season last year, Richards has rebounded in a big way.
He's been shifted to wing and has seven points in seven games. He's been active in every game and has often been the Rangers' best player on the ice.
In addition, Richards has been playing with confidence and purpose. His passes are crisper, his shots are more accurate, and he's even pitched in defensively.
If the Rangers can get Nash and Callahan and Carl Hagelin back and can figure out the offense, then Richards' play is going to go a long way to ensuring success.
The Rangers needed Richards to be better. He has been. If only the team around him was playing well.
On pure talent, Ryan McDonagh is probably the Rangers' best defenseman.
But you wouldn't know it from watching him this year. He's been out of position, beaten badly and has generally looked lost.
He has an awful minus-four and just hasn't been the same.
It's possible the change in coaches has affected him, just like it's affected the rest of the team. But to be this bad? With his talent? That's hard to fathom, no matter who is behind the bench.
McDonagh, and the rest of the defense, will probably figure out how to play better. But he just looks like a different player. If he can't figure it out soon, then there's no way the Rangers make the playoffs.