Rangers Lacking Offensive Spark
Something is clearly missing for this year's Rangers' hockey club. Throughout the last few seasons, the Rangers learned to win games on a consistent basis, play well on the defensive end of the game while also learning how to overcome adversity.
With Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, Carl Hagelin, and Henrik Lundqvist all out with various ailments, the Rangers have struggled to play good hockey on a consistent basis. Sure, playing without their best players certainly hurts but in the end, players need to step up and get the job done.
Simply put, no one has stepped into that role for this hockey team. Yes, Rangers' forward Brad Richards is certainly playing well with eight points (five goals and three assists) in eight games and while that is great for both him and the team, no one is following him.
Coming into this season, it was expected that forward Derick Brassard would have a big year in a more offensive system. That has not been the case for the 26-year-old forward as he has just four assists and 11 shots on goal in the team's first eight games of the season.
It was also expected that Mats Zuccarello, who liked like he was finally ready to be a full-time NHLer when he returned to the league last season, would continue his strong play coming into this season. Instead, Zuccarello, who was a healthy scratch in last night's 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, has not recorded a point and is a -3 in seven games.
While Derek Stepan, the team's leading scorer last season, has five assists, he has yet to put the puck in the net this season. Stepan has also struggled on the other side of the puck as he is a -8 on the season.
Besides the struggles of the above mentioned forwards, the rest of the offense has also been quiet. The Rangers are 28th in the league with just 12 goals this season and while the absence of Nash and Callahan reflect that, other players on the team need to step up and start producing.
It is clear that the Blueshirts need an offensive spark. Yes, the team's defensive play was much better last night and in the last two weeks but if they are not going to score, they are not going to win many hockey games.
If the Rangers want to right this ship, it is time for the offense to come together and get this team rolling in the right direction.