Rangers need Nash healthy
In acquiring Nash, the Blueshirts got someone who could put the puck in the net, take a lot of shots, be a force on the power play and be someone that could produce along with the likes of Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.
With Gaborik now on the Columbus Blue Jackets and Richards not the same player he used to be, it was essential for Nash to come into this season ready to do even more than he did in the strike-shortened season last year (21 goals and 21 assists for 42 points). With a new head coach in Alain Vigneault, a new offensive system and a so called clean slate, it was expected that Nash would explode this season for a ton of goals and lead the team further into the postseason.
Unfortunately, no one quite knows what to expect with Nash this season as the team and their fans found out yesterday that he was placed on injured reserve. To make matters worse, it is not yet known when Nash will be back on the ice.
When it comes to offense, the Rangers clearly struggle with it. Heading into tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals, the team had scored just nine goals through their five games, which puts them 27th in the league with 1.80 goals-per-game.
With the roster that the Rangers have, they should be able to put the puck in the net. With the exception of Richards, who already has four goals in his team’s first five games, guys like Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle, Mats Zuccarello and Taylor Pyatt have all been quiet.
The team has also struggled on the power play somewhat to start the season, which is nothing new considering how much the team had trouble with the man advantage last season. Thus far, the team is 4-18, despite getting plenty of opportunities to put the puck in the net.
Obviously, one player cannot do it all by himself. With that said, there is no doubt that having a healthy Nash is an absolute necessity for the Rangers if they want to make noise this season.
In his first three games, Nash had already showed some promising signs of having a good year. He had three assists, looked good playing alongside Richards and Stepan and also had nine shots on goal.
Yes, Nash was not exactly lighting it up but he was definitely creating scoring chances, putting pucks on net, and setting up goals for his teammates. With a Rangers’ offense that does not score a lot of goals, having Nash is an absolute luxury that the team needs on the ice.
While the team does not want to rush Nash back or put his healthy in jeopardy, they should be helping him to do everything he can to get better so he can get back on the ice sooner rather than later to help spark the Rangers' offense.