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Last season, the Rangers had the fifth ranked penalty kill, at 86.2 percent. A lot of things contributed to that, chief among them Henrik Lundqvist.
Yet, the Rangers had a number of top-notch guys on the penalty kill. Two of those guys were Dubinsky and Anisimov.
Dubinsky and Anisimov are excellent penalty killers, using their size and aggressiveness to pressure the puck at the top of the box. They are sound defensively and are threats to take it the other way.
That's not to mention the losses of Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedetenko, who have new homes due to free agency.
That's four of the top eight penalty killers gone.
Yes, Rick Nash kills penalties, as does newly signed Taylor Pyatt. But can they fill the hole?
The PK groups will probably look something like this:
- Callahan and Richards
- Boyle and Pyatt
- Nash and Stepan
- Jeff Halpern rotating in as necessary.
Is that better than last year's group? Can this group be a top-five ranked penalty kill?
It's tough to say sitting here in September, but the four guys who are no longer there were crucial.
Nash is effective on the kill, but he hasn't done it in recent years as Columbus wanted to save his legs for offense.
He'll have to get reacquainted with the skill quickly.