Wayne Simmonds

New Jersey Devils: Can Simmonds Have A Resurgence In Newark?

featured image photo credit – Dinur Blum

The New Jersey Devils have continued their resurgence from last place in the Eastern Conference to looking like a more prominent force in a very difficult division. In an offseason highlighted by drafting Jack Hughes and trading for P.K. Subban, they now add to that by bringing in another former Nashville Predators in Wayne Simmonds.

The Devils brought in Simmonds on a 1-year, $5.5 million contract in a free agency. Simmonds lost some value on what was considered a down year for the 30-year old winger. The Scarborough, Ontario native tallied just 17 goals and 13 assists last season between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Nashville Predators after having 2 seasons with 60 points and another 2 with 50+ points with the Flyers. His defense and intensity level has still been something that Simmonds has brought season in and season out. However, with him getting older and speed/pace of the game changing, he isn’t the same forward that he once was. That was evident last season even in a Nashville Predators defensive system which has always been phenomenal throughout their franchise history, but even better recently.

Devils Got A Great Deal 

Despite the drop in production and slight decline skillset wise, the Devils still got him on a favorable deal at $5.5 million. The Devils need all the offensive depth they can get. They are a very young team and need supporting cast for their two young centers in Hughes and 2017 #1 pick Nico Hischier. Simmonds is a sniper that can definitely help one of those centers’ playmaking ability and elevate their assist totals if he’s on his game like he was from 2013-17 with the Flyers.

The Devils need other guys to be 20-goal scorers to create two strong lines. For their third line, the Devils will need to use the young players with upside. Both, Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall are trustworthy options on the wing spots for the Devils to score 20+ goals, and they also got a surprising 22-goal year out of Blake Coleman last year. So most likely, Simmonds will have to start out on the second line, maybe the third line in some head-to-head matchups. However, if chemistry starts to evolve with certain players, Simmonds is definitely capable of being a first line contributor if he fits the system.

Confidence In Simmonds?

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However, his tenure with Nashville last year doesn’t really show promise in terms of having confidence that a rise would happen. He only scored 1 goal and 2 assists in 17 regular season games, and as a result he only played in 2 playoff games where he was scoreless. He was decent defensively in those games and in that Nashville system as a whole, but the struggle to score definitely was concerning. But like I said earlier, there are certain teams that have to take those kinds of chances to rebirth a player, and I think it makes sense for the Devils to do that, especially in a Metropolitan division where a lot of teams have improved and was overly deep to begin with.

The Washington Capitals won the cup last year, the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders were big surprises, the New York Rangers just signed Artemi Panarin and traded for Jacob Trouba, the Pittsburgh Penguins just traded for Alex Galchenyuk despite losing Phil Kessel, so it seemed evident that the Devils needed to do something else to keep up. Plus, it didn’t seem like a panic move either, because it was only $5.5 million, on a Devils team that isn’t terribly cash-strapped with the exception of P.K. Subban’s contract. Therefore, it made sense for the value, and the Devils will just have to hope that Simmonds can rebound after a poor campaign.

Is A Rebound Realistic?

How realistic is it that he finds his groove again like he did in 2013-17 with the Flyers?

One factor is that the Devils’ overall offensive depth is not nearly as strong as that of the Flyers or the Predators. While Jack Hughes can be a next big thing type player and Nico Hischier has strong upside as well, they aren’t at the same level as Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson. Hughes will definitely get there and Hischier can get there, but the question will be how much it will work this season. In any sport, there have been situations where weaker rosters have worked with certain players due to chemistry. But, that’s a wild card situation. It looks to be more of a slight negative with the Devils having some unknowns, especially if Taylor Hall can’t stay healthy like he couldn’t last year, playing in only 33 games.

Advanced Possession Metrics

The other factor I looked at is how the game has changed through the analytics that scouts and general managers judge players on now. These metrics have been something that might illustrate his small drop in production last year, and even in years where his raw point production has still been good. Both, his relative Fenwick and Corsi metrics have been in the negatives the last 3 seasons, including a -2.4% relative Corsi and -3.2% relative Fenwick rating with the Nashville Predators. Also, in terms of puck possession metrics, both his Fenwick percentage and Corsi percentage have been under 50% each of the last 4 seasons. Part of that has to do with the Flyers’ very physical style of play with their forwards and him playing with that style throughout his career even with the Kings and Predators. However, some of that also has to do with the speed of the game and Simmonds not being an overly fast skater and great overall puck handler, which is important in a puck possession game today. On the positive side, Simmonds’ physicality can help get guys off the puck very effectively, especially with the way he hits. Not to mention, the Devils have always been more of a defensive team both historically and recently, so I think he should have a smoother transition into that system than others.

Good Signing For The Value

So overall, the Devils signing Simmonds at $5.5 million should be a good signing for that value. It’s hard for me to believe that his overall production will be 30 points again like it was last season. It will be a prove it contract for both Simmonds and the Devils. But, Simmonds needs to find chemistry quickly with Hischier or Hughes, otherwise he might be a fringe player after this season.

stats from hockey-reference.com

New York Rangers

New York Rangers: Who Should They Select At Pick #20?

The New York Rangers have two first-round picks in the 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the second overall pick and pick #20.

 

The second overall selection will be obvious, as everybody knows. They will take whomever the Devils don’t between Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko. As for Pick #20, they could go in a multitude of different directions, obviously based on who falls to them.

My personal preference is for them to target defense or center help, because their defense is still an issue and their center depth could be better, with Vladislav Namestikov and Ryan Strome not being long-term options. In terms of wingers, I think they have enough young wingers, especially with them likely getting Kakko at #2, so I wouldn’t pursue a winger unless somebody who was supposed to go top-10 falls. Here are some options at those two positions that I think could be realistic to fall to #20.

Moritz Seider, Defenseman, Mannheim Adler Mannheim

With the Rangers needing defense and needing some size on this team in general, I think a perfect guy to fit that mold is German defenseman Moritz Seider. At 6’3″ and 208 pounds, he has the size and physicality that is needed on this team and in the league, even with it shifting to a speed and skill game. Seider has the strength, physicality, and instincts to be a good defensive defenseman.

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His offensive game won’t wow anybody at this level, but he did have 11 assists in 12 games at the most recent international junior competition, showing some potential there. His goal-scoring ability will likely be small, as his highest goal total at any level was six in 2017-18 in the Deutsche Nachwuchs Liga. However, I think an improvement in his offensive game would come if being drafted and developed by the Rangers, who have always done well with making guys that weren’t previously offensively-minded or two-way defensemen more productive offensively.

However, if he is drafted by the Rangers, I still would want Seider to prioritize being a stay-at-home defenseman first, because I think the Rangers do lack that right now, especially one that is physical and one with defense-first instincts.

Raphael Lavoie, Center, Halifax Mooseheads

If the Rangers target any more offense in this draft, I think it should be at the center position. One guy that could realistically be there is the Quebec Junior League’s Raphael Lavoie. Lavoie is a guy that could have risen into the Top 10 if he took a major leap, but is still a dominant offensive player.

He scored 32 goals and 41 assists during the regular season for Halifax, and added 20 goals and 32 assists in their playoff run leading the Mooseheads to the Memorial Cup finals.

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Skill wise, he is a very good, straight forward skater that is tough to get off the puck and is good in terms of creating chances for teammates. Today’s game has evolved into young centers having this high end speed, and while I don’t think Lavoie has that, he still has good speed for his size (6’4″ and 200 pounds). His side-to-side speed and agility are one of his major issues he has to work on, especially in the defensive end of the ice. However, that is something that can be developed with good coaching.

His stick skills, vision, and speed for his size make him a good mold to be an NHL center, if he can improve the other aspects of his game. If the Rangers were to draft him, I think he would stay in Hartford for two or three years. But down the road, when guys like Namestikov and Strome probably will be gone, a player like Lavoie could be a decent second or third line center if developed properly, and with his size and skill I wouldn’t mind them taking a chance on him at 20 if he’s there.

Cam York, Defenseman, USNTDP Juniors

From a big-bodied defenseman in Seider to a smaller but quicker defenseman in Cam York, the Rangers could also take a chance on a guy who is more of the modern mold of the NHL, defensemen that can skate and join the rush on offense. At 5’11” and 172 pounds, I would imagine he’d have to bulk up a little bit to compete at the NHL level, but at 18 years old, he still has time to grow into his body more.

However, for that type of defenseman, he can be very good. Offensively his numbers have proven that, with 14 goals and 51 assists on the U.S. National U18 team. In 2015-16, he also had a season with 18 goals and 51 assists for Shattuck St. Mary’s Bantam.

Defensively, he skates well both straight forward and side to side, which is important against more athletic forwards in today’s NHL. He will need to work on his stick skills as a defender as well as his physicality due to not having a lot of size, but those are instincts that can be developed in the American Hockey League and in college hockey.

Whoever drafts York will have him as more of a project anyway. Like I said, he still has to grow into his body, plus he has already committed to the University of Michigan for this season. So between that, growing into his body ,and proving himself in the AHL, he will have a long way to go. However, his speed and offensive ability certainly make him similar to a lot of the new mold of NHL defensemen, and I would not mind if the Rangers decided to put a Cam York in New York.

Alex Newhook, Center, Victoria Grizzlies

One of the faster centers in this draft, Alex Newhook makes the final spot on this list. The Rangers have always loved faster centers, so Newhook could be a perfect fit. He has very good straight forward speed but even better side-to-side speed that would help out wingers that like to spread the ice and switch a lot in head coach David Quinn’s system.

Skill wise, his stick handling and moves are good in front and around the net too, and help for both passing and shooting. Statistically, Newhook had a great year in the British Columbia Hockey League with Victoria, totaling 38 goals and 64 assists in 53 games, proving those skills.

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The question surrounding Newhook is whether he can do it at tougher levels, as the BCHL isn’t thought of to be as strong of competition as other development leagues, so he would likely need more time to develop. He is committed to Boston College next year, where I would imagine he would stay for more than one year unless he makes a huge leap, and then I think he would transition to the AHL level.

Not to mention, at 5’10” and 190 pounds, he may need time to grow into his body too. Therefore, I think between that and him needing to improve his defense and his decision-making both with and without the puck, he will need time.

However, his speed and skill level show that he could fit as a sophisticated offensive center if he proves he can do it against tougher competition throughout college and the AHL. This pick would be a gamble if the Rangers make it, but he can be an ultimate boom if he can handle that higher competition with that kind of speed both straight forward and side-to-side.

Statistics provided by Eliteprospects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

 

 

New York Rangers

New York Rangers: When Will You See Kravtsov & Shestyorkin At MSG?

The New York Rangers youth movement has continued into the off-season, locking up some of their promising youngsters.

On Friday, the Rangers signed 2018 first round pick, right winger Vitaly Kravtsov and 2014 fourth round pick, goaltender Igor Shestyorkin. Both players have signed entry-level contracts, and both will most likely begin the season with the Hartford Wolf Pack. The question remains, for how long? Both players are close to NHL ready, but the Rangers have certain scenarios that could set them back, both in their organization now and what may come. Here are some of those scenarios for both players.

Vitali Kravtsov

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With the way the Rangers roster is set up right now, Kravtsov will absolutely have to earn his way onto the team. The Rangers youth movement, so far, has featured a lot of talented forwards, with most of them being wingers. Between Jimmy Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich, Lias Andersson, Brendan Lemieux, and Filip Chytil to go along with the veterans already on the roster, that has already been a position of multitude for the Rangers. Granted, Chytil has played center and Andersson has the potential to develop into one, so that might help Kravtsov out down the road. However, until David Quinn trusts them consistently, they aren’t going to gain playing time over the veteran centers on their roster. So with it as is, there is already stiff competition, which leads me into the next scenario which could hurt his chances of coming up this year.

That scenario would be if the Rangers were to sign Artemi Panarin. Panarin has expressed interest in the past in going to a larger city, with the Rangers being one of the top teams on that wish list. Now obviously, that doesn’t guarantee he signs there. But if he does, there goes another wing spot, and a wing spot that will never go away barring him getting traded during what will likely be an 8-year contract. That will mean young players will be shuffled around and those players who got first line chances last year might not see them as much this year. Panarin has never been a center either, and unless the Rangers were to develop him into one, I can’t imagine he will play it too often maybe besides particular power play rotations. The upside for Kravtsov in the future would be that him and Panarin might train together in Russia, which could help his development as a similar type winger. However, for the short-term, the Blueshirts signing Panarin might cause him to have to come up later.

One scenario, however, that could help Kravtsov come up faster would be one where the Rangers traded Chris Kreider in the offseason. Kreider was being dangled each of the last two trade deadlines and during the draft last season. Like I’ve said in previous articles, I wouldn’t trade him. That doesn’t mean the front office is thinking the same thing, though. If he were to get traded, that would open the door for somebody like Vesey or Chytil to be a more permanent first line staple with Zibenajad, and for other youngsters potentially to crack into the Top 6 forward pairings. That would mean there would be more open spots on the third line, boosting his chances of getting called up faster. Not to mention, like David Quinn did last year, don’t be surprised if he sees some Top 6 minutes in some games like he did with other young players either. Regardless of where he plays though, if Kreider does get traded, it probably, in some fashion, shows belief in the front office that Kratvsov is ready for the NHL level.

Igor Shestyorkin

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Shestyorkin’s scenarios are simpler when it comes to him coming up to the NHL. It will depend on what will happen with Henrik Lundqvist. As long as Lundqvist is on the Rangers, he will be the starting goaltender for this team. Everybody is expecting him to get traded at the trade deadline, and Lundqvist’s loyalty to the Blueshirts has remained strong, so expect the Rangers to ride out the remaining 2 years on his contract. If that is the case, Shestyorkin should be in Hartford for those 2 years, unless either of these two scenarios happen.

One of which is if Lundqvist finally does give in and decide he does want to go win a cup. I can’t imagine him changing his mind like that, because I think it would have happened already. However, if he does change his mind, then it would open the door right away for Shestyorkin to get called up. Whether he starts right away or not is another question, and will depend on both his performance in the minors and also how well Alexandar Georgiev plays throughout the season. Georgiev has played well when Lundqvist has been hurt or resting throughout the season, and if that continues, it might be harder for Shestyorkin to start right away. However, that could be another scenario where he does get a nod. If Lundqvist is out for a longer period of time, he may get a much longer trial run, regardless of how well Georgiev is playing, because he would be on the roster longer. If he stands out even in limited time in this scenario, it would show a lot about his potential and the talent he has.

The other scenario would be if they were to trade Alexandar Georgiev at any point during the season or even in the offseason. We’ve seen the Rangers trade their last 2 talented young backup goaltenders with Cam Talbot being dealt to Edmonton and now Philadelphia and Antti Raanta being dealt to Arizona. So barring something different in this new front office, Georgiev might be next in line based on those patterns. If he is dealt, that will most likely mean a call-up for Shestyorkin whenever they feel like he is ready. Shestyorkin had staggering KHL numbers last season with a 1.11 goals against average and a .953 save percentage in 2018-19. This follows years with 1.70 and 1.84 goals against and save percentages of .933 and .937. Those numbers show he might not need that much time in Hartford from a talent perspective. However, being that Georgiev is still there, the Rangers might want to leave him up has the backup and let Shestyorkin start in order to develop. If Georgiev is traded, what that would mean is the front office and coaching staff believes that Shestyorkin is ready to come up. Whether it would be as a backup, a starter, or even a platoon 1B goaltender. I don’t think the Rangers would trade Georgiev in this offseason, and I would imagine they would let Shestyorkin develop at least a little in the AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack. But if they do end up trading him in the offseason, the tape on the talent and potential of what they have seen of Shestyorkin in the KHL would be the reason for the move, and Shestyorkin would be almost a guarantee to make the roster right away.

stats from eliteprospects.com and hockey-reference.com

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

New York Rangers

New York Rangers: Will Ryan Strome Get A Fat Check?

Since being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in November, Ryan Strome has been a pleasant surprise for the New York Rangers.

Ryan Strome has been a valuable piece to the Rangers. The former Islanders prospect once thought of as being the next Jason Spezza or Denis Savard has now re-birthed his career to an extent.

How’s Strome Been Doing?

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He’s surprised Rangers Nation. There were low expectations after he was acquired.

He’s had goals in 5 out of the last 7 games and now is 5th on the Rangers point total list. Currently, he has a total of 18 goals and 15 assists.

The question remains though, with the season coming to an end and the Rangers eliminated from playoff contention, how much he will be able to carry this success into a contract season. As somebody who has never made more than $3 million in a season, he may feel like he deserves more if he can keep this up. He has been a streaky scorer throughout his career both season to season and game to game, but with a career high in goals this year and playing less prominent minutes until recently, the Rangers could decide to pay him more money and hope that the money helps drive Strome to further success. Strome will become an unrestricted free agent in July of 2020.

More Time On Ice?

One factor I think that will be taken into account is if he’ll end up getting the extra minutes based on this sample. With David Quinn giving young players time on top 6 pairings throughout this season, don’t be surprised if somebody likes Strome gets that time if he plays well. He’s been behind top-notch offensive talent in previous years with the Islanders and Oilers, so he never really got that time. Obviously, he will have to earn it, but with the way Quinn has been coaching, if he carries over this streak into next season, it is very possible that he’ll get a bump up in TOI.

In addition, his 22.4% shooting percentage is quite high. Granted, a lot of that has to do with him not taking a lot of shots either due to not playing many minutes. However, even if he did play more, that shows that he can consistently possess a shot percentage in the double-digit range, which is good for a player that isn’t an All-Star level talent. However, he’ll have to remain consistent with his production for him to truly be a top 6 player. Strome has had 3 different high-end scoring streaks, but also had major droughts in between this season. That’ll need to change next season if he expects Quinn to reward him.

Consistent Production Needs To Happen

The second thing to determine that, like I mentioned above, is overall consistency in his game. He was a highly touted prospect, but unfortunately he hasn’t had much success in the NHL.

His goal scoring has been in double digits 4 out of the 7 years he’s been in the league, and he only had one season of over 30 assists (2014-15 where he had 33 assists). Also, he has only cracked 20 assists twice in his career. Granted, part of that has to be contributed to bad Islanders coaching and Oilers coaching. However, with a sample size of 7 years, you can see what a player is going to be. Obviously, this one season won’t define how much money he will get. Consistency will determine his worth.

Owners are also going to take into account his age and his past when trying to judge the production they will get out of him, and that is where the overall consistency aspect will lie. Obviously, there has been exceptions within the free agency market where teams will overpay for players that they believe fit in their system. However, the odds of that are still not great, so a player entering a contract year would like to increase his overall market value, and I believe that Strome can do that if he puts up similar point totals to this season.

Strome’s Line-mates

If guys like Filip Chytil, Pavel Buchnevich, and Jimmy Vesey continue to make the strides that they have made this year, that will help out somebody like Ryan Strome get more assists and goals. Veterans like Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast, unless they are traded in the offseason, will help Strome succeed as well. The ultimate test to see if Strome can continue to blossom is to surround him with talent. If Strome can’t succeed with the Rangers’ top talent, it’s a clear indication that he isn’t worth holding onto. But, Strome could potentially prove his haters wrong and flourish with line-mates like Chytil, Buchnevich and/or Vesey.

How Will Strome Handle The Pressure Of A Contract Year?

How will Strome handle the pressure of a contract year?

Certain players overcome the pressure better than others, and often times in a lot of different methods, and this is a commonality for all sports, not just hockey. While I don’t think Strome will warrant more than $5 million in free agency, he is still going to play hard ball.

If he doesn’t have another strong season, he will be stuck in the $1-$3 million range for the rest of his career, which obviously could bog him down.

But, Strome can prove the deniers wrong. If he can produce at the same rate that he has this season or better, then he’s got a chance to bring home a fat check.

stats from hockey-reference.com and NHL.com

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

New York Rangers

New York Rangers: Which Defensemen Should They Target?

As many fans can tell, the New York Rangers have needed help on the defensive end of the ice for the last three years.

The talent with the defensemen that have been vital to the Rangers’ 8 consecutive playoff appearances have now fallen off or have been traded, so they’ve been trying to rebuild that area. Despite Henrik Lundqvist playing very well, the core of defensemen around him has not been helpful, as he continues to get shelled. With the young offensive players playing well right now, the Rangers should focus their free agency attention on the defense. I’m not saying the Rangers should shy away from a top forward either, but I do think they should prioritize defense.

Here’s a solid, sleeper, and big-name target they could go after.

Solid: Anton Stralman

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Anton Stralman is in the last year of his $4.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It’s common in hockey to see teams pursue players for a second stint (Stralman played with the Rangers from 2012-2014) who played with them in their prime. With the familiarity aspect in mind, Stralman could be a good piece to go after that won’t cost a lot of money. Being he’s 31 years old now, I doubt that he would get the $4.5 million he got from the Lightning, but he could get something in the $3-$4 million range, or even something where the annual revenue is front loaded to get him to return.

Stralman isn’t a statistically flashy defenseman by any stretch, as he only had one season with 100 blocked shots and three seasons with over 100 hits, all with the Lightning. However, at 31 years old, it doesn’t seem like his speed has diminished too much where he’s lost quality skating ability and positional defense, which always was his strength in John Tortorella’s defensive system as a Ranger.

In terms of advanced possession metrics, Stralman’s Corsi for percentage has been over 50% in every season besides this one, and has been positive for the most part, with a career 52% Corsi For Percentage and 3.0% Relative Corsi For Percentage. His Fenwick stats are up and down but still are mostly positive for his career, with a 51.2% Fenwick For Percentage and a 2.4% Relative Fenwick Percentage. Granted, some of those numbers can be rigged by the Lightning having tons of offensive talent. However, the Lightning’s fast paced and creative puck moving style of play also means they possess the puck less time on goal scoring and quality shooting possessions, which will drop that number slightly as well.

In essence, I still think Stralman can play, and I think the familiarity with the Rangers organization and playing in New York will make a difference when it comes to leadership. Not to mention with a team that makes a lot of mistakes both on defense and stick-handling in their defensive zone, Stralman can solve a lot of those issues. I don’t expect the deal to be long if they pursue him, but a 3 or 4 year deal that is more front loaded worth about $10-$15 million overall shouldn’t be too bad when it comes to filling a hole and getting a fundamentally sound defenseman familiar with your organization.

Under the radar: Jordie Benn

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Thirty-one year old defenseman Jordie Benn (Jamie Benn‘s brother and former teammate in Dallas) has surprisingly improved his game a lot since joining the Montreal Canadiens, a veteran piece that is a key part of why they are shockingly in a playoff spot.

Benn is coming off of a contract with the Canadiens (and carryover from the Dallas Stars) where he was making about $1.1 million per year. However, despite all the downs with that Canadiens team while he was there, he has played well both statistically and non-statistically, which is why I think he’ll end up getting more, probably in the $2-$3 million range.

He won’t give you a high level of goal production (just 11 for his career), but I don’t think the Rangers should be looking for that. When it comes to defense, his hit and block totals have been good for the most part since joining the Canadiens and even in various years with the Stars. He has had over 100 blocked shots in 6 different seasons and he’s had over 100 hits in 2 seasons.

He’s a little more mistake prone than somebody like Stralman, but is also more aggressive, so I guess that will depend on the style of defenseman that head coach David Quinn and team president Glen Sather would want for this team. Hits and physicality have never been the Rangers style, but who knows if that changes in this regime. Both his Corsi and Fenwick for percentages are over 50%, which is impressive especially with a Canadiens team that was never overly deep offensively, despite having some good star power. However, most of the 50.7% Corsi metrics are rigged by his Stars years. In terms of his Fenwick, he’s put up better numbers during his time Montreal. The relative percentages have been more neutral, and that leads to what I was saying with him being more aggressive but also more out of position, hence allowing more shots and goals while he’s on ice. 

Overall, I don’t expect Benn to be a top pair defenseman by any stretch, but he could be a solid fourth option. There are risks to choosing him over Stralman that I don’t think the Rangers would do, but that wouldn’t make it a bad decision either if the Rangers were able to get him at the right price.

Big Fish: Erik Karlsson

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This seems obvious. The league’s best offensive defenseman and arguably best overall defenseman might hit the market. While I don’t think he will, if he does, the Rangers should prioritize him.

The numbers speak for themselves: 5 seasons with 50 or more assists and 3 seasons with over 40 assists. That’s just as good as a lot of forwards in the league. When it comes to goals, he has 6 seasons with double-digit goal totals. Unfortunately, this season has been a bit concerning. He’s had only three goals this season. Based on this season’s performance, his annual value could drop a tad. Regardless, it’s Erik Karlsson and he’s still phenomenal.

On the defensive side, he’s not overly physical (just 569 career hits), but his blocked shot totals are tremendous, led by his 2016-17 season where he had 201. Aside from his 2010-2011 campaign, his Corsi and Fenwick For Percentages are all above 50%. Also, his relative percentages have always been great, positive in every year but one, and a career 4.8% Corsi and 4.3% Fenwick, including a 7.4% and 6.6% this year. The numbers and the skills on the ice visually just show how talented he really is. Not to mention, he will make other players around him better too, which can help guys like Brady Skjei and Anthony DeAngelo become more consistent. 

Personally, I am glad the Rangers didn’t trade assets to get him because I want them to keep the youth, but if he becomes available at the end of the season, he should be priority number one.

stats from hockey-reference.com and NHL.com

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals