Marian Gaborik Leads The NHL In Goals. Too Bad The Rest Of His Team Leads The League In Suck.
Gaborik, who leads the league in goals scored (22) and is tied for second in points (41), has just not recieved the support from his teammates required to have the team be considered a threat. The Rangers currently hold the fourth worst record in the league (14-15-2, 12th in the East), only beating the awful Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, and their division rival Flyers. But the Leafs are steadily improving and appear as if they will be making a playoff push, and the Flyers are only one point behind with one game at hand, being played tonight in Boston.
The team who started the season so strong (7-1) and was an offensive juggernaut (averaged 4 goals per game) has found themselves questioning if those games were just a fluke. They are currently 18th in goals scored per game (2.71) and an embarassing 25th in goals against per game (3.00)
Interesting is the Rangers special team success. They are ranked 10th in the league as far as the power play goes (20.7%) and ranked 7th in the penalty kill department (84.2%) So how can a team with the leading goal scorer in the league, and both top-10 ranked special teams have such awful success when it comes to winning? Is it their lack of scoring? Their shotty defense? The inability to win faceoffs (47.9%, 25th)? The finger can easily be pointed at the big names.
Chris Drury ($7M cap hit), is 12th on the team in points (2-7-9) and is a poor -8. Granted, he was concussed and missed a few games, but he has not been producing or having any real positive effect on this team.
Wade Redden ($6.5M cap hit) is 16th on the team in points (1-5-6) with a 0 rating.
Michal Rozsival ($5M cap hit) is 14th on the team in points (1-6-7) with a -2 rating.
Compare those numbers to forward Vinny Prospal ($1.1M cap hit), second on the team in points (6-21-27), +2 rating. He has 2 more goals, 3 more assists, 5 more points, and a +12 higher rating than those three money-makers combined.
Even goaltender Henrik Lundqvist ($7M cap hit) has looked human this year, posting an average .916 save percentage (18th in the league), sub-par 2.64 GAA (24th in the league), and only one shutout.
So what happens if the injury prone Gaborik goes down (already missed a few games this season due to injury)? What can be done to save this team?
The real answer, is not much. With about 40% of the team's cap space dedicated towards four underperforming players, and no team would ever be willing to take on the contracts of the three grossly underperforming skaters, the team is stuck with what they have. Their farm system is relatively weak and there just doesn't seem to be any solution, other than the big names finally picking up their games. But after three years of failure from Drury and Roszival and two from Redden with no signs of improvment, the younger players are going to have to pick up their game... not an easy task to do under the bright lights of New York.
It looks like it's up to the Lone Ranger (Gaborik) and his sidekick, Tonto (Prospal), to save this team and lead them to playoff glory. Godspeed, heroes of a quest most ridiculous.