The New York Rangers are on a three-game losing streak for the first time this season. What was once an almost perfect start for the Blueshirts has quickly spiraled downwards, as New York’s lead on the Metropolitan Division is now just three points.
If the Rangers intend to keep their reputation as a top team in the NHL, something is going to need to change rather quickly.
1. Key players return from injury and make an immediate impact
The Rangers have been without at least one of their top players for the majority of the season. When one star returns from injury, another promptly gets placed on the IR. Last night’s embarrassing matchup in St. Louis was a clear indication of the negative impact this is having on the Blueshirts’ success, as Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Mika Zibanejad all did not play.
While the second line has been carrying the offensive production, it hasn’t been enough to keep the Rangers afloat. It’s essential that all players on the IR return sooner rather than later, and that they begin to make an immediate impact before these problems escalate.
2. The defense forms some sort of consistency in their own end
The Rangers’ defense has been the most inconsistent aspect of this season. The Blueshirts began the year with one of the fewest goals against record, and are now allowing opposing teams to feast on Igor Shesterkin with ease.
Both Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick have been allowing more goals than usual as of late, but not a single ounce of blame should be placed on either goaltender. As elite as they are, the horrible defense in front of them has caused countless chances for other teams to score. If the Rangers are to get back on track, the defense has their work cut out for them.
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3. The Rangers trade for a new winger
It’s clear that the Rangers are in need of a new first-line right winger. There have been countless attempts to look within the roster for a solution to this hole in the lineup, but every attempt has been average at best. Rookie Will Cuylle is next to give it a try, but the Blueshirts’ best option may be to explore trade options.
With the 2024 trade deadline under two months away, realistic options will appear that the Rangers could look into. They don’t have an abundance of cap space to use, but finding a suitable winger shouldn’t be too difficult.