The Rangers need to reconsider which of their core players deserve to stay in the lineup

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) skates against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at Madison Square Garden

The New York Rangers have been struggling over the last month of play, as mediocrity seems to be the recurring trend in each game. Losses have piled up as many of the Blueshirts’ star players have entered slumps- and it’s reaching a point where Chris Drury and Peter Laviolette may need to reconsider this team’s core.

Two of the Rangers’ top-line forwards have fallen off a cliff offensively

Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider have been two of the best forwards for the Rangers over recent years. Both began this season at a solid pace, but have both stopped producing offense altogether. Zibanejad has just one goal across his last 13 games played, and Kreider has just two in his last 12.

Having both Kreider and Zibanejad play some of the worst hockey of their careers at the same time is bringing the Rangers down immensely. Not only has the power play stopped producing, but an already abysmal 5v5 team is scoring even fewer even-strength goals.

Despite their slumps, the chances of either forward being moved at the trade deadline are slim to none. While there’s not much Drury can do as GM, Laviolette has the power as head coach to send a message to his team. It wouldn’t be surprising if the once-dynamic duo of Kreider and Zibanejad gets split up with one player being demoted into the bottom six. And if this problem continues, don’t be shocked if one of them receives a healthy scratch at some point.

Half of the defensive corps has been below average as consistency remains a major issue

Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, and Jacob Trouba are the only defensemen on the Rangers who seem to still know how to play hockey. Trouba has been mediocre, but he gets a pass for his leadership as captain.

On the other hand, K’Andre Miller, Erik Gustafsson, and Braden Schneider have been absolutely terrible- with Miller being the worst of the bunch. What started out as a phenomenal season for Gustafsson has taken a quick 180, and Schneider is possibly the most inconsistent player on the Rangers. With the deadline just over a month away, Drury should be trying to market all three of these players in order to bolster the defensive corps for a possible postseason run.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: