The New York Rangers have just recently extended their win streak to three games with a dominating 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Last night’s win put the Rangers up to a record of 5-2-0, increasing their standing as the top team in the Metropolitan Division.
The Rangers’ early success this season is highly attributed to new head coach Peter Laviolette. The complete antithesis to his predecessor, Laviolette is providing a hands-on approach and is implementing a more structured form of hockey.
Many of the Blueshirts are reaping the benefits of this new system, including each of the “kids”. Their success is proving that Laviolette is the perfect fit for them and that the Rangers had made many mistakes in the past.
All three kids are finding success in the Rangers’ top six
Since Laviolette took over behind the bench, one of his major changes was to finally place the Rangers’ young stars into top roles. Kaapo Kakko has been slotted on the first line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, while Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil have joined Artemi Panarin on the second. Through seven games played, they are all performing at an elite level.
Chytil has been the best of the kids with six points in seven games played. Every point he’s earned has been an assist, but he’s come close to scoring a handful of times. Lafreniere has been a goal-scoring machine, as his tally last night put him on a three-game goal-scoring streak.
Kakko has the least amount of points so far with only two in seven games played. But where he lacks in point production, he makes up for it in other ways. Kakko constantly looks dominant with the puck and helps the Rangers maintain offensive possession with his strength and puck-handling abilities. He’s blended into the first line well, he just hasn’t scored the points to show it. They will come with time, as Kakko looks like he’s about to explode into a scoring machine.
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Laviolette is finally the coach to help the kids break into stars
It took years for the Rangers to finally move the kids up into top-six roles. David Quinn and Gerard Gallant both made cataclysmic mistakes by leaving them down on the third line for as long as they did. Sure, the “kid line” was a solid producer for one year. But constantly leaving these young stars down in the bottom six for as long as Gallant did absolutely hurt their development.
In order to break out, the kids needed to be on the top two lines. The Blueshirts have immense talent that can help them be the best versions of themselves, and that’s exactly what the Blueshirts are witnessing happen right now. Laviolette’s hiring seemingly saved the kids from never reaching their full potential.
How the Rangers can avoid the same mistakes in the future
Brennan Othmann is one of the Rangers’ best prospects, and he appears to be ready for the NHL at any moment. But for an offensive weapon like Othmann, only a top-six role would be required to help him develop into the star he’s projected to be.
The Rangers do not have any room in their top six for new players. Fans are begging for the Rangers to call Othmann up to the Blueshirts, but patience is necessary. If the Blueshirts bring Othmann up to the NHL, he’ll be slotted in a bottom-six role. It would be another repeat of the kids’ disaster, so the Rangers need to be patient.
Let Othmann develop more on Hartford’s top six while they wait for an open spot in New York. If they don’t, the Rangers could easily make the same mistakes once again.