Reeling Rangers need leadership group to step up amid 3 game losing streak

Rangers need more leadership
New York Rangers’ Filip Chytil (72) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal as New York Islanders’ Adam Pelech (3) skates past them during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photos

The New York Rangers are reeling. 

A combination of squandered offensive chances, poor defensive play, and turnovers have plagued the roster for over a month now and has New York looking from the outside of a loaded Metro division. 

As laughable as it is to question a season just a month into the year, the Rangers haven’t shown an ability to play a full game of hockey, nor have they shown an ability to fix their mistakes. As ludicrous as it is to question the viability of a team so early in the year, the longer the Rangers keep struggling, the closer we get to that distinction. 

While blame can be thrown at several different people, it’s clear that the foot of the blame falls on the leadership group of the Blueshirts. 

Gerard Gallant, Chris Drury, and the Rangers’ front office believed that the time was right to name Jacob Trouba captain of the team. Trouba hasn’t been a bad captain, but this is the first instance where his leadership will be tested in a mixed group of older veterans and younger stars. 

It doesn’t help that Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Islanders showed a crack in that leadership group. After blowing a two-goal lead for the second consecutive game, questions about not playing a full 60 minutes have begun to creep in. 

“We’re slightly concerned with it. I don’t think it’s a personnel thing. I truly believe in this group. I know what kind of team we have and I know what we’re capable of…It’s just a mental thing for us right now. We gotta get over that hump and a little bit of a rut.” Vincent Trocheck told reporters after the game. 

Trocheck’s been around the NHL and can be considered a seasoned veteran. The leadership group of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and others have also shown they can weather the storm just from last season. 

But Zibanejad has not put up a goal in even strength this season, Chris Kreider was demoted down to the third line, and Artemi Panarin has been left to pick up the pieces. A disappointing 6-5-3 start is nothing something that can’t be overlooked. The Rangers are still a relatively young team with the average roster age at 25.2. 

It’s up to the leadership group of the Rangers to turn their early season slide around. They better do it fast or a division that was seen as a lock for this talented team will be too far gone. 

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