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Thread: Halfway There Report Cards 2017-18: Defense & Goalies Edition

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    Junior Member ClearedForContact's Avatar
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    Halfway There Report Cards 2017-18: Defense & Goalies Edition

    Excelling (A+ to A-)

    Henrik Lundqvist shook off a rocky start and has turned around his 2017-2018 season in a big way. Since falling to 2-4-0 with a .900 save percentage (SV%) and 3.12 goals against average (GAA) on October 31, Lundqvist has been on fire, posting a record of 17-6-2 with a .931 SV% and 2.33 GAA. He has achieved all of this while facing an average of 25 even strength shots per game and an average of five high-danger shots per game, third and fourth most in the league, respectively. In short, he has had to work for it.

    Needless to say, Lundqvist has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest, parts of the Rangers’ run to being competitive in the Metropolitan Division playoff race. And if the Blueshirts have any postseason aspirations, they had better hope that King Henrik’s stellar play continues.



    Succeeding (B+ to B-)

    Marc Staal, the star of a fantastic feature piece by Mike Valvano, is performing quite well this season. As Mike pointed out, his play last season and in the playoffs somewhat dampened expectations that Staal would ever return to form, but he has been solid this year. He’s been relied on heavily by the Rangers coaching staff as the Rangers’ defensive specialist.

    Perhaps to your surprise, Nick Holden finds himself in the same category he was last season, though not with the same level of offensive success. Much like Staal, after how things ended last season, it was reasonable to expect that Holden would struggle to even make the team. He still isn’t going to dazzle anyone with amazing possession stats – he’s checking in at a 45.4 even strength Corsi for percentage (CF%). But Holden has made himself quite serviceable for the Rangers. Perhaps this grade is a case of managing expectations, but I believe that’s exactly what you need to do when it comes to Nick Holden.

    One thing that Staal and Holden have going in their favor is that they are contributing a lion’s share of the defensive effort towards the Rangers fifth ranked penalty kill, which has been a mainstay of their recent success. Staal is leading the team in short-handed TOI/G and Holden is right up there in fourth.

    Not to be outdone, Brady Skjei has also been quite good for the Rangers. Among Rangers defenseman at even strength, he is leading the blue line in possession with a 46.95 corsi for percentage (CF%) and is tied for second in scoring with two goals and 11 assists. He’s contributing 1:15 time on ice per game (TOI/G) to the penalty kill. He’s getting a taste of power play time as well, which has netted him two assists in 56 seconds TOI/G. Not bad for a 23 year-old in his second full NHL season.

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    Senior Member Pee-Wee Division
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    Wow, didnít realize how good Lundqvistís numbers have been. Heís eliminated the soft goals as of late too, good job on his part.

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    I think Smith has been a little bit better lately - even though he was in the box the other night - but he's been majorly disappointing. Just never know how guys are going to respond when an opportunity is put before them.

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    He has, but the grades are cumulative for the first half of the year. If you're looking at his first half, it's hard to see how he'd grade any higher than D IMO.


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    Despite the improvements, the fact that the guy who was just signed to a long-ish term $4+M contract and has been scratched 9 games out of the 42 they've played, with the most recent scratching being the last game right before the break can only be labeled as a disappointment. They expected much, much more from him. He's not even trusted to kill penalties, which, as you mentioned in your PK piece, is surprising given how his skillset would seem to work well for the PK.

    His game is a mess. And he's as much of an F as any player on the team.

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    Russian Meddling BSBH Rookie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morphinity View Post
    Despite the improvements, the fact that the guy who was just signed to a long-ish term $4+M contract and has been scratched 9 games out of the 42 they've played, with the most recent scratching being the last game right before the break can only be labeled as a disappointment. They expected much, much more from him. He's not even trusted to kill penalties, which, as you mentioned in your PK piece, is surprising given how his skillset would seem to work well for the PK.

    His game is a mess. And he's as much of an F as any player on the team.
    I dont think expectations were in the right place.
    Besides, the best reasoning for signing him was always "well, who else do we sign?"

    How each played based on expectations:
    McDonagh - much below
    Smith - below
    Skjei - below earlier in the season, play much stronger recently. At expectations.
    Staal - above
    Holden - slightly above
    Deangelo - below
    Kampfer - indifferent
    Shattenkirk - slightly above. The offense helped the PP, until just recently. His defensive game is as advertised.

    Henrik - bounced back to "at expectation" after a rough start
    Pavs - meets expectations
    Lias Andersson for #AJT2019

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morphinity View Post
    Despite the improvements, the fact that the guy who was just signed to a long-ish term $4+M contract and has been scratched 9 games out of the 42 they've played, with the most recent scratching being the last game right before the break can only be labeled as a disappointment. They expected much, much more from him. He's not even trusted to kill penalties, which, as you mentioned in your PK piece, is surprising given how his skillset would seem to work well for the PK.

    His game is a mess. And he's as much of an F as any player on the team.
    Oh yea, I don't disagree with the grade, really just meant that it could move up as the season continues.

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