The New York Rangers are at the midpoint of their season and while they haven’t matched the win total of last year’s unit, they have certainly shrugged off their slow start.
After starting the season 11-10-5, New York is not ten games over .500 and sits in third place in a tight Metro division. There have been players who have looked solid through the first 41 games, and those who have struggled.
Let’s go through the full list.
Mid-season MVP: Ryan Lindgren
On numbers alone, Lindgren’s impact may seem minor. In reality, he’s been the most important player on the Rangers this season. He leads the team in +/- with a +17 and has helped solidify New York’s defense when they needed it most.
Want any more questions on his impact? When Lindgren went out mid-game with injuries against New York and other teams the Rangers’ defense swiftly collapsed. Ryan Lindgren has been the Rangers’ best player.
Mid-season Offensive Player: Mika Zibanejad
The Rangers are great when their best players are great. Mika Zibanejad has been pretty great throughout the first half of the season. He is second on the team in goals, points, and assists but leads the team in powerplay goals.
He is on pace for a career-high in points and assists and has been the guy the Rangers look to when they need a play to be made.
Most Improved: Kaapo Kakko
New York fans were waiting to see Kaapo Kakko take big steps in his development and he’s done more than that in his fourth season. With just nine goals and nine assists, it’s hard to see him be as impactful as Filip Chytil, but Kakko has been all over the ice and is one of the more consistent players for the Rangers this season.
Kakko is on pace to break through career highs in all offensive categories and will only get better with more ice time.
Most Disappointing: Jacob Trouba
The captain has caught fire as of late and has played pretty well but that doesn’t take away from the struggles he suffered early in the year. Teams have scored the most when Trouba is with Miller this season and it’s because the captain has made key mistakes at the wrong time.
His health has certainly been a factor, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Rangers have needed more from their captain.
The Mediocre Award: Alexis Lafreniere
While the Rangers have gotten solid progress from Chytil and Kakko, the third piece of the kid line has struggled far more than he’s succeeded through the first half of the season.
It seems crazy because while Lafreniere is tied with Kakko in points this season so far, Kakko’s impact far exceeds that of the former top overall selection. It’s not that Lafreniere has been bad through the first half, it’s that he’s had to be benched multiple times to this point and has struggled to make a mark like his counterparts.