Rangers are getting solid offensive production from unlikely defensive options

Rangers are getting key defensive contributions
Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) gets off a shot against New York Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider (45) during the second period in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals, Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
AP Photos

When you think of solid offensive-minded defenders on the New York Rangers, Braden Schneider isn’t really thought of as one of the top guys. 

Adam Fox is off to another explosive start for New York, while K’Andre Miller has also continued to show some excellent improvement as well. For Schneider, the expectations of him providing consistent and dominant offense did not follow him entering his second NHL season. 

Yet as Schneider’s offensive chances have increased, so have the wins for the New York Rangers. In the last week alone, Schneider has tallied two assists in key moments for the Blueshirts. 

It may not be something that the Rangers are asking for him but Schneider knows his improved play has come from both sides of the ice. 

“For me, it starts in the d-zone. I feel like I’m closing on guys better, I’m getting more sticks on pucks. I’m trying my best to move the puck and play within my game.” Schneider told AMNY on Tuesday. “Just playing within my limits, making sure I’m doing the right thing on my end have given me confidence and opportunity to get a shot through the o-zone or jump into play a little more.”

New York has won two of their last three with the offense having seemingly been rejuvenated by quick line changes and excellent plays from their stars. While he may be seeing the ice for less than 15 minutes on average, Schneider is still producing at a very high level. He’s recorded a +2 on-ice mark through 17 games with 23 hits and 25 blocks.

In turn, the Rangers have won two of their last three games by a combined differential of +6. It’s clear to the entire roster that the team may have turned a corner. 

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

“I think our team game has gotten a lot better. I think as a group we should be happy with where we’re at. I think there’s still a lot more room to improve obviously, but I think we’re definitely going in the right direction.” Schneider added. 

The Rangers’ offense has the talent and potential to be one of the most potent in the entire NHL. Their defensive pairings on the other hand are an underrated part of their game. With the improvements shown by Schneider, it’s clear New York is looking to begin to hit its stride and show they are one of the league’s best overall teams: even if it means fewer scoring chances for Schneider. 

“I don’t think it’s (scoring) expected of me. I’m just trying to play my best hockey in my own zone and try to help us win from the defensive side of it.” 

For more New York Rangers news, turn to AMNY.com